Dickinson College Home Page Admissions Contact Us!

Asbell Chair Installation
January 30, 2004

The Sophia Ava Asbell Chair in Judaic Studies had its first professor installed in a ceremony held in Mathers Theatre in the Holland Union Building. Andrea B. Lieber, assistant professor of religion and coordinator of Judaic studies, is the first incumbent of this chair.

The chair was established through the generosity of Yale Asbell '78 and Mrs. Audrey Asbell and is named for their older daughter. The Asbell family has had ties to Dickinson for over 75 years with 13 members of the family having attended the college. The family has made numerous gifts to the college, including the Sarah and Isedor Asbell First Generation Scholarship. Yale Asbell currently serves on Dickinson's Board of Trustees.

Remarks by Andrea Lieber
Andrea Lieber with the Asbells

Yale and Audrey, it is my pleasure to present you with this gift as a small symbol of appreciation for your commitment to Dickinson College.

This sculpture was created by artist Gary Rosenthal and is meant to evoke the "tree of life" motif on the beautiful Torah ark in the Asbell Center sanctuary. The inscription reads: "she is a tree of life to those who hold fast to her."

Like a living tree, your gifts to the college branch off in multiple directions, supporting student life, the academic program, admissions and financial aid. Your generosity is rooted in your love for Dickinson, your family's historic connection to the College, and your deep commitment to the Jewish value of Tzedakah, charitable giving.

Andrea Lieber with the Asbells

I'd like to share with you one of my favorite passages from the Talmud about the labor of giving:

"One day, Honi the circle Drawer was journeying on the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked him, "How long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?"

The man replied, "Seventy years."

Honi asked further, "Are you certain that you'll live another seventy years so that you'll eat its fruit?"

The man replied, "I found grown carob trees when I entered the world; as my ancestors planted them for me, so I too plant for my children and descendants."(Ta'anit 23a)

Yale and Audrey, thank you for all you have planted at Dickinson College. It is my wish for you that Sophie should grow to know the richness and diversity of her tradition, whose core values you exhibit here today. Thank you so much.