Richard M. Joel was inaugurated as Yeshiva University’s fourth president on September 21, 2003, and was named Bravmann Family University Professor in April 2010.
His presidency is the latest chapter in the illustrious tradition of Yeshiva University presidents, beginning with Dr. Bernard Revel (1915-1940), Dr. Samuel Belkin (1940-1975) and Dr. Norman Lamm (1976-2003).
Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University (YU) is America’s oldest and most comprehensive institution combining Jewish scholarship with academic excellence and achievement in the liberal arts, sciences, medicine, law, business, social work, Jewish studies and education, and psychology.
Since assuming the presidency, President Joel has provoked an era of growth at Yeshiva University. He has catalyzed a renewed focus on academic excellence, enriched student life and broadened service to the Jewish and wider communities. He has also added faculty positions throughout the University and spurred wide-ranging improvements to campus life.
President Joel believes in modeling education based on the notion of an integrated life and speaks of a Yeshiva University education as ennobling and enabling a generation of leadership. In realizing this mission, President Joel established a Presidential Fellowship program that provides training and professional development to recent graduates to further their path toward communal leadership.
As Yeshiva University president, he motivates students to excel at liberal arts, business and the sciences while developing depth and breadth in Jewish learning, thereby engaging students to take responsibility for the Jewish people and humanity.
President Joel is renowned nationally as a talented leader and gifted speaker. He has traveled the globe giving talks on topics of Jewish leadership and identity.
Prior to his appointment, he served as the president and international director of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, where he was the driving force behind an extraordinary renaissance of Jewish life on campus. During his tenure he built numerous new facilities, partnered in the creation of Birthright and focused the community on reaching Jewish youth through the engagement and empowerment models.
Richard M. Joel received his BA and JD from New York University where he was a Root-Tilden law scholar, and has received honorary doctorates from Boston Hebrew College and Gratz College. He was an assistant district attorney in New York and deputy chief of appeals in Bronx, NY. His career continued as associate dean and professor of law at YU’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
President Joel’s family has a deep connection to the Yeshiva University community. He and his wife, Esther, who holds a PhD from YU’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, have six children, all of whom have attended Yeshiva University.
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