“Let Us Empower Our Community”
Dean Robert Goldschmidt’s 43 Years Leading LAS
Where others saw a challenge, Dr. Robert Goldschmidt, Dean of Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush (LAS) and Touro's Vice President for Planning and Assessment, saw an invaluable opportunity.
“The thrust of Lander College of Arts and Sciences was, ‘Let us empower our Jewish community with the ability to pursue a higher education of quality,” recalled Dr. Goldschmidt. “We will give our community this ability to pursue this education in a place where their values are supported, not attacked, where their perspectives are reinforced instead of undermined.”
For more than four decades, Dr. Goldschmidt has led LAS and guided the paths of thousands of successful LAS alumni. Through his tenure at LAS, he has built LAS to become bastion of scholarship where Jewish students can excel without having their core beliefs challenged.
“The values of yiddishkeit are supported and encouraged at LAS,” Dr. Goldschmidt explained, listing myriad of alumni who have gone on to have successful careers in almost every profession.
Part of LAS’s success stems from Dr. Goldschmidt’s personal interest in each of his students.
“I think of every student as a person of great potential,” stated Dean Goldschmidt. “Our job is to help them reach that.”
Dean Goldschmidt’s almost encyclopedic memory enables him to recall hundreds of LAS alumni by name along with their majors, graduation dates and other family members that have attended the institution. Whether it’s women from Russia just learning about their Jewish heritage, yungerlicht from Lakewood, or yeshiva bochurs from Brooklyn, throughout the years, each student has found their own place at LAS and in Dean Goldschmidt's memory. He has often found himself an honored guest at simchot throughout the world.
“Thank you for enabling my family to complete their education and become financially independent,” alumna Chaya Prager wrote while describing the successful careers her five siblings attained because of their LAS education.
Another alumnus recalled Dean Goldschmidt helping him land his first interview.
“I owe my entire career and success to you since you were the one who got me my first job,” wrote a partner at a large accounting firm. “I am forever grateful to you for your assistance.”
“As graduation approaches I reflect on my time in Touro College and think about what the future will bring,” wrote Yehuda Lehrfield. “I am sure that whatever it is that dental school has to throw at me I will be well prepared because of my time spent and lessons learned in Touro College.”
Looking back, Dean Goldschmidt said he views his legacy not only in the continuing academics at LAS, but in the thousands of Jewish families able to be both financially and spiritually secure.