Touro College Division of Graduate Studies Commencement 2018
Israeli Tech Guru Hillel Fuld tells Graduates ‘The Core of Business is Passion and Giving’
New York, N.Y. – David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center filled with thousands of exuberant graduate students and their families and friends on June 14 to celebrate the 37th commencement of the Touro College Division of Graduate Studies.
Diplomas were conferred on 1,425 members of the Class of 2018, from six Touro graduate schools: Business, Education, Health Sciences, Jewish Studies, Technology and Social Work by President Alan Kadish, M.D., following a personal and spirited call to action by keynote speaker Hillel Fuld, an entrepreneur, journalist and vlogger who has been named Israel’s top marketer and collaborates with many global brands on marketing including Google, Oracle and Microsoft.
“Today, given the tools and resources you have at your fingertips and the knowledge you have acquired, the only thing preventing you from accomplishing the impossible is you,” he told the assemblage.
In his remarks, during which he traced in detail his philosophy and path to achieving his goals, Fuld stressed the core of business is “passion and giving.” He said he spent his years focusing on his passion for technology and writing, while giving free help to others and ignoring advice to focus more on monetizing his talents.
“Any small piece of success that I have had traces...back to the day when I started writing my very unstructured thoughts about the world of technology. If one of the companies I now work with sold for billions tomorrow, I would change nothing. I would continue doing what I am doing and what I have always done, followed my passion and given as much as I possibly can to all those around me who can benefit from what I have to offer. I suggest you do the same and…right now.”
Fuld’s remarks followed those of Touro College President Alan Kadish, M.D., who encouraged the graduates to help make the world more enlightened and compassionate; to live for purposes higher than one’s self; and to teach others. “It is time for you to take your spots in that broader scheme and determine the parts you’ll play in enriching our society,” the President said.
“I implore you to take your knowledge and spend your lives teaching others. The world in 2018 is complicated and stressful but I am optimistic we will overcome what divides us. Keep being dedicated, teach others and do us proud,” said Dr. Kadish. “I have no doubts that, with the education you’ve received, yours will be robust and beautiful contributions.”
Ceremonies Imbued with International Presence
The ceremonies were imbued with an international presence, reflecting Touro’s diversity. The audience sang the national anthems of the United States and Israel – Hatikvah – and heard moving speeches from six student speakers, each representing one of the graduate schools. The speakers hailed from Greece, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Indonesia.
Jessica Punzal, who earned her M.S. in Industrial Organization-Psychology from the School of Health Sciences, thanked her father for taking a 22-hour flight from Indonesia for graduation, and also her mentors including her professors, “What’s different about Touro is the tremendous amount of support that I have received. Touro has such brilliant, brilliant mentors.”
Mailen Nunez, M.S. in Information Systems, shared how she came from the Dominican Republic at age 10, speaking only Spanish. Her mother worked as a housekeeper and when her father, a factory operator, was injured on the job, her mother took on a second job. She suffered through a bad marriage but persevered, obtained a bachelor’s degree and applied to Touro. “Touro prepared me to be a successful project manager in the IT field and gave me the tools needed to fine-tune my management and technology skills. [Touro] taught me to value and appreciate life despite the obstacles we face and to respect and love each other regardless of our cultural and religious differences.”
When he came to the United States from his native El Salvador four years ago, Miguel Monterrosa was already working as an engineer but decided he would have a better future in the U.S. He learned English on his own, landed various jobs, then came to Touro to earn his M.S. in Mathematics Education and become a bilingual math teacher. “At Touro I learned so much,” Monterrosa said. “I encourage the new generations to always do their best and never give up. Life is not always easy…At the end is your attitude and effort that is going to make the difference.”
Eleni Mellou also faced obstacles when she arrived from Greece. Her English was “sketchy” and her bank account low and she was scared. “But my heart was filled with desire. I want to recommend that we do less planning and more dreaming. Follow your dreams. Nothing is impossible,” she said. A highlight for Mellou while working towards her M.S. in Business Administration, was learning from Touro’s diverse population. “There is great strength in seeing events from a different perspective,” she said. Also, she urged classmates to look inside themselves to find their purpose. “You can Google for a job, for a date. But you cannot Google to find an identity. Only when you live a life that reflects your purpose, will it be a well-lived life.”
One Individual Can Make a Difference
Ariana Solovey-Mizrahi, M.A. in Jewish Studies, shared her experience researching a German Jew, Mauricio Hochschild, who saved nearly 9,000 Jews from the Nazis with the help of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He helped thousands find refuge in Bolivia, where before the war he had built an empire with the mining and trade of tin ore. He had government contacts and was influential. “While far more powerful countries denied these individuals entry, Bolivia did what needed to be done. The same holds true for Hochschild,” said Solovey-Mizrahi, who was born in Argentina. “One single individual took it upon himself to save thousands and succeeded...The power that one single person has to promote significant change in the world is as strong as he or she desires it to be.”
Christian Rodriguez, whose family hails from the Dominican Republic, was in need of inspiration when he finished his undergraduate studies. As a 22-year-old Latino, the new MSW now recalls, he found himself “completely lost” – not knowing his purpose or why he did not feel fulfilled. He traveled the world thinking he would figure it out, and learned “the real travel is when you journey within. It’s in that realization that I want to be a source of inspiration for those who struggle to find meaning in their lives.” His advice to his peers: love themselves, acquire self-awareness, conduct themselves with integrity, be empathic, and be connected. “As I look around at all of you, I feel proud to represent Touro because I know that we can use our kindness and compassion to promote change and protect the dignity of all human beings. Whether you are graduating from social work, business or technology, we all have the same mission, to protect and support each other.”
About the Touro College and University System
Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 19,200 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has 30 campuses and locations in New York, California, Nevada, Berlin, Jerusalem and Moscow. New York Medical College; Touro University California and Touro University Nevada; Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division; as well as Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill. are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: www.touro.edu/news