Gratz College President Resigns to Work for Jewish Federations of North America

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Joy Goldstein
Joy Goldstein

Joy Goldstein, president of Gratz College, announced her resignation last month, which will take effect Feb. 10.

Goldstein came to Gratz in 2008 as a consultant and served as chief operating officer before becoming the first female president of the college in June 2011.

Prior to Gratz, she was the chief planning and funding officer for the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.


During her time as president — and with the extensive help of her team, she noted — Gratz meaningfully increased its degree-granting programs and varied its offerings in order to reach broader markets.

In addition, the college’s permanently restricted endowment grew by more than 50 percent.

Michelle Portnoff, chair of the Gratz board of governors, worked closely with Goldstein this summer. She said the board is in the process of forming a search committee to appoint a new president.

“We’re hoping to have an interim in place within the next month,” said Portnoff, who’d like to have a full-time president by July.

There will be more information from the search committee in the coming months.

“We want to continue on the expansion and development of programs that started under [Goldstein’s] leadership,” said Portnoff, who was, like Goldstein, a student at Jewish Community High School in the ’70s. “I think that when we are working with the search committee, we will identify what the committee thinks to be the best — to find a person who we feel will be best to lead Gratz into the next period.”

Goldstein is a graduate of the Gratz School of Observation and Practice, an intensive Hebrew school for the pre-Bar and -Bat Mitzvah set, where her tenure at Gratz began at just 8 years old.

She later graduated from Jewish Community High School.

“As someone who really perceives Gratz College as having tremendous influence on my formative years, I never imagined that I would come back to be the president of the institution,” Goldstein said. “It’s quite an honor and a privilege.”

Gratz is largely a graduate school — there are seven master’s programs, one doctorate program in education and a Bachelor of Arts completion program. Over the last few years, the school was able to add several new master’s programs, and they are in the process of submitting a proposal for its first Ph.D. program in Holocaust and genocide studies.

Educational programs are also available online, which has expanded to become a global resource. The site serves not only the local Jewish community but global communities, including Jewish and non-Jewish students enrolled from 36 states and six different countries.

“Any achievement is the achievement of the team at Gratz College,” Goldstein said. “I am very proud of the team that I developed at Gratz. We have a new executive team who are very devoted to the institution and very competent. I’m very pleased with the diversification of programming at Gratz so that we’re providing general market programs as well as programs for the Jewish community.”

She added that she is also proud of the board of governors and how it’s diversified to represent men, women and all people who can lend their expertise from different professions.

Goldstein will remain in Philadelphia for her new job as the associate vice president for planning and research for the Jewish Federations of North America.

“I will be helping Federations serve their communities by providing consultation and training in the areas of planning, community development and grant-making,” she said.

The Gratz board of governors adopted a strategic plan in May 2016, which, according to Goldstein, “defines a mission statement that is more broad than the historical mission of the institution, which is that Gratz will offer graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificate programs to adults and teens, and in partnership with others organizations, that the college will expand its institutional and academic relationship in Philadelphia, North America and worldwide.”

Goldstein said she hopes this plan continues to benefit students across the globe.

“I love Gratz College and I intend to stay involved as a community member,” she said. “I hope the college expands its programming in keeping with a new strategic plan that was recently adopted, and that it expands its offerings further beyond the Jewish community.”

Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0737

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