Dr. Normann Lamm, invested today as the third president of Yeshiva University, said in his inaugural address “The crucial problem today is not the absence of education, but its growth without spiritual directions and ethical dimensions.”
In a colorful outdoor ceremony held before some 2500 persons, Lamm said that the disparity between technological progress made possible by accelerated accumulation of knowledge and moral stagnation, “goes back to the Biblical tale of the Tower of Babel, those primitive builders who knew everything about bricks and mortar but nothing about heart and sensitivity and people. That condition still obtains; time has only exacerbated it, and we are only eight years away from 1984, the target date set for us by that modern prophet of doom, George Orwell.”
Lamm said that “Judaism has taught all of us, Jews and non-Jews alike, that even when learning is pursued for its own sake, intellectually, it must never become an absolute, unrelated to moral dimensions. It must have beneficial ethical and social consequences. One must learn in order to do; and even if he learns for the sake of learning itself, it must be the kind of learning which makes him a different and better human being.”
Lamm was presented with the University Charter and the Presidential Medallion, signifying his assumption of office by Max J. Etra, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Max Stern, vice-chairman of the Board, both of whom have been major figures in the university’s development over the past 30 years. Dr. Israel Miller, vice-president for student affairs, who was chairman of the Investiture Committee, presided.
Participants in the ceremony included Chaim Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, State Education Commissioner Ewald B. Nyquist, members of the Board of Regents, local and state government officials, educational and communal leaders, and the heads of some 30 colleges and universities. Also participating were: Herbert Tenzer, chairman of the Board, Rabbi Isaacs Elchanan Theological Seminary; Jack D, Weiler, chairman, Board of Overseers, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and Morris B. Abram, chairman, Law School Board.
Lamm, a 48-year-old rabbi, chemist, philosopher, teacher and author, was elected president of the 91-year-old institution last August. His predecessor, Dr. Samuel Belkin, who held the office 32 years before resigning to become chancellor in the fall of last year, died last April.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.