Yeshiva University Inaugurates First Business School Under Jewish Auspices in the Western Hemisphere
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Yeshiva University Inaugurates First Business School Under Jewish Auspices in the Western Hemisphere

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The Sy Syms School of Business, the first business school in the Western hemisphere under Jewish auspices, was inaugurated by Yeshiva University Sunday night at its National Centennial Chanukah Convocation and Dinner here.

The school was made possible by gifts, now totalling $12 million, from Sy Syms, chairman and chief operating officer of Syms Corp. and other donors.

It was also announced at the dinner, which honored 110 benefactors of Yeshiva University, that the Institution’s Century Campaign has exceeded its goal by $100 million and that a new Campaign for the Future, recently initiated for the university’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has already drawn more than $40 million in gifts and pledges.

Dr. Norman Lamm received a special tribute marking completion of his first decade as president of Yeshiva University.

Syms, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and chairman of the Board’s Development Committee, served as dinner chairman, The new business school that bears his name was created in response to increased student interest in business education. More than 25 percent of Yeshiva University graduates last year had majored in business, economies, accounting and computer science.


It was announced that the school’s administrative offices will be housed in Belfer Hall on the main campus in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Graduates will receive Bachelor of Science degrees The university is now searching for a dean. But several professional chairs have already been established to be filled by leading scholars.

The Kerzner Chair in Accounting and the Kukin Chair in Business Law were endowed by Joseph Kerzner of Toronto and Dr. Ira Kukin of West Orange, NJ, respectively. Kerzner is president of Kerzner Properties Inc., developers of shopping centers throughout Canada. Kukin, a member of the University Board of Trustees, is founder and chairman of the Apollo Technologies International Corp.

The Ludwig Jesslson Chair in Economics was established by Salmon Inc. in honor of Jesselson who is a director and former executive vice president of Salmon Inc. As chairman of the Century Campaign, he presented Lamm with a check for $100 million at the dinner.

The Gershon and Merle Stern Chair in Banking and Finance was established by the Sterns, residents of Montreal. Stern is president of the Canadian Friends of Yeshiva University and president of Montrose Builders Ltd. and Eastern Canada Shopping Centers in Montreal.


The dinner and convocation at the Marriott Marquis Hotel here was attended by more than 1,500 guests. A highlight was the first public reading of a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Mordecai-Manuel Noah in 1818 in which the former President of the United States decried anti-Semitism and religious intolerance. The letter was purchased for Yeshiva University by a benefactor for $396,000, the largest sum ever paid for a Presidential letter or document.

Jack Weiler, chairman emeritus of the Board of Overseers of the Einstein College of Medicine and national general chairman of the centennial celebration, delivered greetings at the dinner. A hospital at the medical school has been named in honor of Weiler who is chairman of Weiler-Arnow Investments Co., a nationwide investment firm.

Featured speakers were retiring Speaker of the House, Rep. Thomas O’Neill (D. Mass.) and Paul Volcker, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Their speeches were not available at press time. Volcker and five benefactors received Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund