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Yeshiva University's 84th Commencement

Ruth Wisse to Deliver Keynote; Peter Frates, Martin Greenfield and Dean Pearl Berger to be Honored

Dr. Ruth Wisse, Yiddish scholar and literary and social critic, will deliver the keynote address at Yeshiva University’s 84th Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 17, 2015 at 12 p.m. at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. YU President Richard M. Joel will confer honorary doctorates upon Peter Frates and Martin Greenfield. Pearl Berger, dean of YU Libraries, will be awarded the Presidential Medallion.

Wisse, a former professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard University, is currently the distinguished senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund. She has written and edited numerous books, essays, and anthologies on literary subjects including her latest book, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor.

Frates, a former NCAA Division I athlete and captain of the Boston College baseball team, was diagnosed with ALS in 2012. Since his diagnosis, he has taken an active role in raising awareness and funds for ALS research while battling the progression of his disease. In 2014, Frates helped launch the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral phenomenon that raised more than $100 million in donations for the ALS Association.

Greenfield is a Holocaust survivor and a legend in New York City men’s fashion. Dubbed the best men’s tailor in the country by Vanity Fair and GQ, he learned how to sew as a teenager in Auschwitz and attributes his survival at the concentration camp to the power of clothing. Greenfield’s list of clients includes several U.S. presidents, politicians and celebrities. He is the author of Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents Tailor.

Berger, who will retire at the end of the academic year, has served as the dean of libraries at Yeshiva University since 1985. She is the former president of the Association of Jewish Libraries and has authored numerous articles related to library services and Judaic library collections. Berger is credited with introducing technological advancements and organization to the YU Libraries and has established a model for all other Judaica libraries.

“We are very fortunate that our honorees so reflect the values of humanity and the Jewish story that our graduates and their families represent as well,” said President Joel.

In all, more than 600 students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business, will be awarded degrees from Yeshiva University during its commencement season.

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