Making a Difference

Lander College for Men Celebrates Class of 2023

June 23, 2023
Faculty members of Lander College for Men stand with a student holding an award.
Family and friends celebrated with members of Lander College for Men's class of 2023 during a commencement and award ceremony on June 4.

Lander College for Men Dean Dr. Moshe Sokol praised his former students as they embarked on the next step of their lives. “Our graduates are extraordinarily well-prepared, not only for success in their chosen careers, but for a life committed to the Torah values in which they were steeped,” said Dr. Sokol. “Our rigorous dual curriculum teaches students to balance these two goals, while in college, and beyond.”

In his introductory speech to the salutatorian award, Dr. Jonathan Robinson, chair of the computer science department, praised recipient Avrohom Tzvi Housman’s intellectual curiosity, “He wants to know everything,” said Robinson, who spoke of how Housman begin his academic career studying biology then chemistry—excelling at both—before becoming a computer science major. Robinson also added that of all the students he has had over to his house for Shabbat meals, Housman is easily one of his children’s favorite.

“Above all else,” said Robinson. “What stands out is Housman’s sincerity and humility. You can’t tell the greatness and the gadlus he has inside him.”

The following school-wide awards were delivered to the graduates.

  • Valedictorian: Daniel Sokel
  • Salutatorian: Avrohom Tzvi Housman
  • Bernard Lander Award: Ari Zarour
  • Outstanding Academic Achievement: Isser Morgulis
  • Beis Medrash L’Talmud Award: Nethanel Berokhim
  • Outstanding Service to College and Community: Zachary Berlin

“Nethanel is an outstanding talmid, whose diligence is matched by his sterling character,” said LCM Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Yonason Sacks. “He is a most worthy recipient of the Talmud award of Bais Medrash L'Talmud.”

Berlin, the recipient of the Outstanding Service to College and Community Award, received the honor due to his work as vice president of the school’s student government and as resident advisor. He was also the leader of the school’s business major chabura. Berlin said that the real award was the time he spent at LCM. “The experiences I've had and the people I have been fortunate to connect with throughout the journey is the greatest reward I can receive.”

Salutatorian Housman said that the award validated the faith he had in himself. “It showed that my hard work paid off and was recognized by my teachers and advisors,” he said.

Zarour, whose award is named after Touro’s founder, said he was particularly touched by his honor. “I have heard so many powerful and inspiring things about Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander,” said Zarour. “My time at Lander was made so significant by all that Rabbi Dr. Lander and Touro have done and I’m very grateful.”

After the ceremony at LCM, the graduates donned caps and gowns and joined with their fellow Lander College graduates at the school-wide commencement exercise in Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. During his memorable address, LCM Valedictorian Daniel Sokel showcased his breadth of knowledge by drawing on Talmudic passages, the Surgeon General’s report, and the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, to encourage his fellow students to pursue kindness.

“We can greet someone with a warm smile, or offer them a sincere compliment,” said Sokel. “Even putting down our phones and listening closely to what someone has to say creates an impact. Through small and meaningful acts of connection, that’s how we, together, can make a difference.”