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Grading Himself ‘Complete’

Richard Joel told the Jewish Link last spring that if he had to give a grade to himself as Yeshiva University President, it would be an “incomplete.”

Joel indicated to YU staff, students and alumnae last week that he would not seek another contract extension after his deal expired in 2018.

We think it’s difficult for anyone to give a grade to Joel after nearly 13 years at the helm of Yeshiva University. Certainly Yeshiva University wasn’t the only high-caliber organization undone by the criminal Bernie Madoff. And during a time when universities were transitioning into the digital age, many schools such as YU had to navigate the difficult fault lines of tradition versus innovation.

Granted, YU under Joel didn’t always do everything right, losing perhaps tens of millions of dollars during his tenure. Last March, faculty members cast a no-confidence vote at Joel. But the board believed in him.

And we want to not just believe in him, but encourage Joel in his remaining time as president to bring Yeshiva University’s financial picture back to respectability. We want him to strategically run the school by taking advantage of innovations in digital educational platforms, but still strive to make the school a shining example for the Modern Orthodox community and a place where people of all faiths and colors and cultures can come together in the spirit of educational excellence.

This is the legacy that Richard Joel wants to leave behind once a new president is found. And we have confidence that he’ll lead YU in the right direction before handing it off to his successor.

And when that happens, at the very least, Joel can grade himself and his YU career “complete.”

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