On Wednesday, May 16, Yeshiva University’s Class of 2018 celebrated the University’s 87th Commencement along with friends and family at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, delivered the keynote address and received an honorary degree.

Ambassador Danny Danon receives an honorary degree at YU graduation

“You, the graduates in this hall today, represent the potential of the Jewish people,” Danon told the graduates. “You have more opportunities than ever to become tomorrow’s leaders in academia, business, and government. YU alumni are at the forefront of technological discovery. They are leading lawyers, doctors, social workers, and educators. They are at the top of America’s greatest financial institutions. I have the greatest confidence that the class of 2018 will be the one to lead our people toward even greater heights in the years ahead.”

He added, “From this day on, you will be YU alumni. This is a great responsibility. This means you now shoulder the incredible legacy forged by those who came before you.”

In conferring the honorary degree upon Ambassador Danon, Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, said, “You are a genuine Israeli patriot who fights for Israel every day of your life.”

YU President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman presided over his first commencement exercises

The ceremony was a moving event for Dr. Berman, who presided over his first commencement exercises as president of YU. In his address to the Class of 2018, Dr. Berman said “you have deepened your commitment to our core values, which have endowed you with a mission: transform the Jewish world and the broader society for the better in service to God.”

He added, “A Yeshiva University graduation is not just a private celebration; it’s a celebration for our entire people. You are the leaders of tomorrow; you are our future.”

YU President Emeritus Richard M. Joel was also awarded an honorary degree during the ceremony. Upon presenting Dr. Joel with the degree, Dr. Berman lauded him for his many achievements at YU. “You ushered into reality a Yeshiva University that was warm, welcoming, and supportive and took on as your personal mission to model this culture of warmth and welcoming for others,” he said. “You taught our students to dream, and you taught them to work towards building a better and brighter future.”

An ecstatic and patriotic YU graduate waves the Israeli flag

During the ceremony, nine undergraduate valedictorians received special recognition for their outstanding academic achievements. Golda Aharon, Stern College’s valedictorian, thanked her classmates for “being the best of friends and role models” and hoped that “we all enjoy much learning and laughter as we embark on the next chapter of our lives.”

The class of 1968 was also honored as they marked the 50th anniversary of their graduation.

YU President Emeritus Richard M. Joel, Chairman Moshael Straus, Provost Dr. Selma Botman President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, and Ambassador Danny Danon

In total, more than 1,800 degrees were conferred upon students across Yeshiva University during this commencement season. To learn more about YU or see more photos of the graduation, click here.

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