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Yeshiva University names Rebecca Cypess, PhD, new dean of Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women

Following a competitive national search, Yeshiva University has appointed Rebecca Cypess, PhD, the new dean of Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women. An accomplished and visionary educational leader, Dr. Cypess is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where she is also founding co-chair of J-FAS (Rutgers Jewish Faculty, Administrators, and Staff), which combats antisemitism and anti-Israel bias on campus. Dr. Cypess will assume her new position on July 1, 2024.

Dr. Cypess succeeds long-time Dean Karen Bacon — legendary in her commitment to students — who will become the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Karen’s contributions to YU are so profound and meaningful that they cannot be quantified or even simply explained,” said Dr. Selma Botman, YU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “I am truly excited that she is joining the Office of Academic Affairs, where she will lend her wisdom and experience to all the schools and colleges of YU.”

Dr. Cypess is the ideal choice for YU, said Dr. Botman. “She is mission aligned, deeply committed to excellence, and filled with dynamism. She has a winning personality that will fit right into the culture of YU.”

A renowned music scholar, professor, researcher, and performer with a master’s degree from YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, another from the Royal College of Music (London), and a PhD from Yale University, Dr. Cypess comes to YU with a diverse and unique skillset and a passionate personal and professional mission.

"As an Orthodox Jew deeply committed to higher education, I am honored to be afforded this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," she said. "I care deeply about YU. Since its founding, this institution has been critical to Jewish life in the United States, and I am eager to support its ongoing success and vitality.”

Dr. Rebecca Cypess, the new dean of Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women
Dr. Rebecca Cypess, the new dean of Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women

In addition to building on the tradition of academic excellence across all subjects at Yeshiva College and Stern, Dr. Cypess hopes to cultivate and strengthen collaboration across the university, continuing to integrate Jewish values and Jewish learning into the undergraduate programs. “Such collaboration has never been more important than it is now,” she said.

Collaboration and partnership-building have been central tenets of Dr. Cypess’s tenure at Mason Gross School of the Arts, where she helps oversee curriculum and research in five different arts disciplines. "Encouraging dialogue and cooperation among the arts, sciences, and humanities — and across the university as a whole — has been very exciting,” she said. “When we talk to each other and collaborate, we know and accomplish more.”

Although she has achieved considerable success at Rutgers, after Oct. 7, Dr. Cypess began reevaluating her priorities. Seeing a need to spend more time supporting the Jewish community in academia, she had planned to step down as associate dean and return to her faculty role. Then she read the announcement about the dean position at YU and knew she had to apply. It came at just the right time and in perfect alignment with her commitments to both academic excellence and the Jewish world. Top of Form

“The position at YU gives me the opportunity to devote myself to strengthening academia from within the Jewish community,” she said. “All roads seemed to lead to YU.” 

Much of higher education today, Dr. Cypess said, has embraced nihilism — which puts YU, the flagship Jewish university, in an ever more profound and vital position. “In a world where many people ignore facts and view reality as relative, YU is a beacon of morality, emanating from our timeless Jewish values,” she said. “The world needs YU as never before. I am honored to become part of an institution that leads with academic excellence, moral clarity, and the search for truth.”