Joshua Feldstein, a refugee from Nazi Europe who came to the United States alone as a teenager and enrolled in a small college in Pennsylvania, working there later as a faculty member as eventually as its president, died on June 19. He was 97.
Dr. Feldstein, who served as president of Delaware Valley University in Doylestown from 1975 to 1987, was an outspoken advocate for inclusion during his tenure at the private institution, helping to admit the first women and students and increasing the number of female faculty members.
“To generations of DelVal students, faculty, staff and alumni, Joshua Feldstein was Delaware Valley University,” said Maria Gallo, the school’s current president.
Dr. Feldstein, who was born in Belarus and raised in Lithuania, where he attended the First Hebrew Private Gymnasium, was sent by his father to the U.S. to gain a college education and to escape the looming threat of Nazism. Friends advised him to spend a year in a small school, where he could learn the American way of life.
Knowing little English, he began his studies in 1938 at the National Farm School, as the university was then known.
After World War II he learned that his entire family had died in the Holocaust.
He studied agriculture at the school, earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Rutgers University, and began a series of positions at the university that included professor, department chairman and dean.
At his retirement he was made President Emeritus, and twice served as interim president.