Mission and History
The mission of Yeshiva College is set forth in Yeshiva University's Mission Statement for all of its undergraduate schools as follows:
"We bring wisdom to life by combining the finest, contemporary academic education with the timeless teachings of Torah. It is Yeshiva's unique dual curriculum, which teaches knowledge enlightened by values, that helps our students gain the wisdom to make their lives both a secular and spiritual success."
Like many venerated American colleges and universities, Yeshiva College was founded originally as a religious seminary. Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) was established in 1896 as the first yeshiva for advanced Talmudic study in America. Its first president, Dr. Bernard Revel, envisioned an institution in which yeshiva students would be able to "harmoniously combine the best of modern culture with the learning and the spirit of Torah." Through Dr. Revel's efforts, Yeshiva College was founded in 1928, with 31 students. The creation of the college coincided with the move of RIETS, with its Teachers Institute and Talmudical Academy High School, from the Lower East Side to the newly built Washington Heights campus.
Meeting the Needs of Our Growing Student Body
Since its inception, Yeshiva College has become the most important institution in the United States for training Jewish secular and religious leaders for nearly 90 years. The growth of its student body over the years necessitated the building of the Rubin and Morgenstern Residence Halls, which supplemented the original and subsequently refurbished Muss Residence Hall. The growth of its academic programs also necessitated the creation of the Mendel Gottesman Library to house its manuscript, rare book and scholarly collections of Judaica, the development of the Pollack Library collections in secular studies, as well as the construction of Furst Hall and Belfer Hall for additional classroom, administrative and laboratory space.
Yeshiva College now has an enrollment of more than 1,000 undergraduate men with an additional 300 students learning in major yeshivot in Israel. Our students are drawn from the world Jewish community including North America, South America, Europe, Israel and Australia. To this diverse student body, Yeshiva College offers a varied Jewish studies and liberal arts curricula with intensive support services for students' educational, social and religious needs.
An Exceptional Academic Program
Academic programs have never been stronger. For the last 10 years, the college has continued to build on its academic excellence. The Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program (1999) is designed for exceptionally gifted students seeking intellectually rigorous experiences, individualized mentoring, exciting research opportunities and leadership development. It also offers extraordinary summer travel classes to Japan, Italy, Spain and destinations yet to be imagined. Participation in Honors Program offerings are also open to non-honors-students and thus it augments the college's academic opportunities for all highly motivated Yeshiva College students.
Strengthening Our Faculty
During the last six years, through the generosity of Mr. Ronald P. Stanton, the college has experienced a 30 percent growth of its tenure-track faculty in the sciences, humanities and social sciences. The new faculty has invigorated Yeshiva College's commitment to high-quality research in their disciplines and to innovative teaching in their classrooms and laboratories.
Fulfilling—and Building On—a Vision
In recognition of more than 20 years of sustained support by the Wilf families for their many contributions to Yeshiva University, especially in the area of need-based and merit scholarships, the Washington Heights campus was named in their honor (2002). Most recently, the completion of the Jacob and Dreizel Glueck Center for Jewish Study (2009) in the heart of the Wilf Campus physically reaffirms the centrality of Torah studies in the college's academic mission.
In his remarks in 1928, Dr. Bernard Revel consecrated Yeshiva College "to the pursuit, interpretation and advancement of universal knowledge in harmony with the great affirmations of Judaism concerning God and man, which are the basis of enlightened civilization … and which still hold a vital message for humanity."
Dr. Revel's vision continues to be realized at Yeshiva College day in and day out, with its ever-growing commitment to academic excellence in Jewish and secular studies and its continued dedication to the intellectual, social and spiritual well-being of its student body.