Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe to speak at DelVal’s Commencement

Courtesy: Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe

May 05, 2016

Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe, a leader in the Jewish deaf community and the first deaf woman to be ordained a rabbi, will speak at Delaware Valley University’s 2016 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m. Commencement will be held on the Quad. The Class of 2016 is the first class that was required to complete DelVal’s new Experience360 Program to graduate. The program blends real-world experiences into academic programs to prepare students to become successful young professionals.

Despite being diagnosed with significant hearing loss as a toddler, Rebecca Dubowe was raised to communicate orally and today is fluent in English, Hebrew and American Sign Language (ASL). She earned a B.A in Jewish Studies from the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University).  From there, she enrolled at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the nation’s main Reform rabbinical seminary, where she earned her M.A. in Hebrew Letters.  A scholar and biographer of Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf (DelVal’s founder), Rabbi Dubowe wrote her master’s thesis on 100 of Rabbi Krauskopf’s sermons. 

Ordained in 1993, Rabbi Dubowe served as an associate rabbi at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, New Jersey for four years and as a rabbi at Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, California for 18 years. Since summer 2015, she has been serving a two-year appointment as an interim rabbi at Moses Montefiore Temple in Bloomington, Illinois. She also travels the country to advocate for, teach and inspire people with disabilities. In 2010, she went on a national speaking tour to share her journey and to educate others about the importance of including the deaf community in Jewish spiritual life. In 2010, “The Sisterhood,” the women’s issues blog of “The Jewish Daily Forward,” listed her as one of the 50 most influential female rabbis in the United States.

DelVal will also award three honorary degrees during the ceremony. This year’s recipients will be: Dubowe (Doctor of Humane Letters), George Ball (Doctor of Science) and William Schutt (Doctor of Letters).

A third-generation seedsman and horticulturist, Ball has been chairman and CEO of W. Atlee Burpee & Company (also known as Burpee Seeds) since 1991. Founded in 1876, Burpee is one of the best-known names in American horticulture. In addition to his role with Burpee Seed Company, Ball chairs the Board of The Burpee Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports horticultural, environmental and educational causes. The Burpee Foundation has been a major supporter of The Precarious Alliance symposia series at DelVal. Ball has won several important horticultural awards, including the Outstanding Achievement Award from The Horticulture Society of New York and the President’s Medal of Appreciation from the American Horticultural Society. Ball studied at Bard College and DePaul University.

Schutt  is one of the world's most recognized systems experts for corrosion engineering. Following 10 years with Henkels & McCoy, Inc., Schutt founded MATCOR, Inc. in 1975. MATCOR, a Doylestown-based company, engineers, manufactures and installs cathodic protection systems – some of which Schutt helped to develop – that help prevent corrosion of infrastructure, assets and investments worldwide. MATCOR’s cathodic protection systems set the international standard for corrosion-related projects. Schutt holds the highest engineering rating from NACE (National Association of Corrosion Engineers) International, the world’s largest organization dedicated to the study of corrosion. His achievements have been discussed in: TIME Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2010, Schutt, who had served as President and CEO of MATCOR since its founding, moved into the role of chairman and in 2015, he sold MATCOR and retired. Schutt founded the Delaware Valley Saxophone Quartet. In addition to this ensemble and several other local jazz groups, he is an active member of DelVal’s concert and jazz bands. He is a 1967 engineering and business graduate of Drexel University.

What’s new this year? The Experience360 Program

The Class of 2016 is the first class to complete the Experience360 Program. The innovative program is designed to prepare well-rounded professionals. It is the heart of a DelVal education and is tailored to the students’ majors to help them apply their classroom knowledge to real-world problems. So far, through the program DelVal students have:

• Completed 1,270 total real-world experiences
• Worked with 806 total experiential learning partners
• Completed 141,070 total experiential learning hours