There was mingling, laughter, catching up on the whereabouts of lost classmates, and meeting new acquaintances. A new video showing the depth and breadth of Touro College was shown. Founding President Bernard L. Lander stood and talked about his dream to rebuild Jewish life in Europe, the College’s devotion to humanity, preserving peace within the community between Jews and non-Jews and helping the underserved.
The president told a packed room of Touro alumni and friends that it was the first time in the 35 year history of the College that he was reaching out publicly for support. By the end of the evening, checks were written even though there had been no plans to solicit.
“It was wonderful. He was so inspiring! Rebuild and rebuild and rebuild!” said Catherine Ottilio-Maggio, a graduate of the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. “I will write down on little notes [your remarks] and remember them the rest of my life,” she said to Dr. Lander afterwards.
The event was held on a recent evening in early May, at the home of Drs. Ben and Esther Chouake in Englewood, New Jersey. Co-chaired by Dr. Ben Chouake, a member of Touro’s Board of Overseers, Jerry Gontownik from the Class of 1976, Michael Parker from the Class of 1975, and Mordecai D. Katz, the reception drew about 70 alumni, spouses, friends and other supporters of Touro College from the North Jersey/Rockland County areas.
Included among the group were alumni from the first classes up to recent grads; brothers of graduates; as well as a grandparent of a Touro alum. The Mayor of Englewood, Michael Wildes, also was in attendance.
The video demonstrated the growth of Touro College in the United States and abroad, from its opening in 1971 with a freshman class of 35 men to the present, with 23,000 students.
“The breadth of Touro’s programs is astonishing and the opportunities it affords to the Jewish community and the non-Jewish community alike are amazing,” observed Rabbi Menachem Genack, who also serves on the Board of Trustees.
However, it was Dr. Lander who clearly stole the show. The audience listened attentively as he talked of Touro’s plans to develop a medical school and major research programs in New Jersey, schools of osteopathic medicine and pharmacy in New York City modeled after Touro’s successful programs in California and Nevada, as well as a future school of social work.
“The time has come to build not just good schools but outstanding schools,” the president said.