Although no formal announcement has yet been made, as of 2:00 PM on Wednesday it was official that Dean Zelda Braun, Associate Dean of Students on Stern campus was retiring before next school year. Dean Braun has been a member of Yeshiva University’s administration for 25 years and has long been considered a fixture of the university.
The dean decided not to release the information in a formal manner yesterday because Wednesday evening was the Student Leadership dessert honoring the departing and incumbent leaders of the Stern student body. Dean Braun explained that she wanted that night to be about the students and not about her. They deserved that celebration, she said, and she didn’t want to get in the way of their honor.
According to incoming Student Council President of Stern, Dena Shayne, the Center for the Jewish Future, CJF, will be taking over the Office of Student Affairs. Shayne suggested that this step is part of the process of “re-imagining,” that President Richard Joel has spoken about recently, which will include consolidation of different factions and undergraduate bodies at YU.
The idea was proposed by a Stern senior that this move is one of many financially driven decisions recently made by YU.
Shayne defended the actions of President Joel, saying it was in order to make Student Affairs “even more amazing than it has been in the past.” According to their website, the Office of Student Affairs’ mission is “to serve as a guide and a resource to each and every member of the student body, and assist you in maximizing your potential as part of the YU community.”
Shayne and others have emphasized how much Dean Braun will be missed by the students at Stern College.
“Dean Braun’s presence in this university is entirely irreplaceable, and each person on this campus will miss her warmth, and her inspiration and guidance,” elaborated Shayne, who admitted to being “still frazzled” by the shock of the news. “But as institutions move progress and evolve, some elements of those institutions are regrettably lost. Each member of student government has been deeply influenced by Dean Braun and she will continue to be a presence in this university because of the incredible mark she has left on the Stern women.”
Dr. Victor Schwartz, Dean of Students at YU, has professed to being “sad” in response to the news of Dean Braun’s imminent retirement.
“We are profoundly grateful for her long association with the University and all wish her continuing good health and many years of productivity,” said Dean Schwartz. “The University and the Jewish community owe her tremendous gratitude for her devoted leadership in shaping the lives of so many young women.”
For herself, Dean Braun says, “It has been my good fortune to have worked with generations of outstanding women at Yeshiva University’s Beren Campus for the past twenty-five years and to have shared so many significant experiences in their college lives. I hope that the future generations of our university women will continue to learn and develop on campus so they to will go on to impact communities throughout their worlds.”
Shayne suggested that Dean Bradley Karasik, Associate Dean of Students at Yeshiva College, will be retiring as well, but on this point Dean Schwartz said that he was “not able to address anything in relation to Dean Karasik.”