Dr. Bernard S. Yudowitz ’55, a forensic psychiatrist, philanthropist and a Cornell benefactor whose legacy of support impacted student life, died Dec. 11 at age 85.
Yudowitz, who lived in Weston, Massachusetts, was a board-certified psychiatrist and founder of Wild Acre Inns, a network of residential psychiatric treatment facilities in Massachusetts. Until stepping down in 2000, Yudowitz served as CEO and medical director of Wild Acre Inns, which was founded in 1972 and earned a reputation as a leading mental health agency in the state. He remained as Wild Acre Inns’ chairman of the board through 2014.
In 1998, Yudowitz and his wife, Evelyn ’56, made the single largest gift ever to Cornell Hillel with a $2.75 million bequest to provide permanent program endowment. In recognition, Cornell’s Hillel chapter was named the Yudowitz Center for Jewish Campus Life at Cornell University.
Yudowitz also served on Hillel’s board of trustees since 2005.
Rabbi Ari Weiss, executive director of Cornell Hillel, said he and all of Cornell Hillel are mourning the loss.
Yudowitz “was a man of many talents,” Weiss said. “He was a lawyer, a psychiatrist, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist. Most importantly, he was dedicated to the Jewish future. His endowment gift 20 years ago established Cornell Hillel as the Yudowitz Center for Jewish Campus Life and has impacted tens of thousands of Jewish lives at Cornell. His vision and early leadership has enabled Cornell Hillel to become one of the largest student life organizations on campus, engaging over 2,000 Jewish undergraduate and graduate students each year and hosting 500 events, enhancing campus life for all Cornell students.
“Our hearts go out to his wife, Evelyn, his children and grandchildren. We are committed to honoring his life each day by continuing in our mission to enrich the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”
“Dr. Yudowitz was a devoted Cornellian who left indelible marks on Near Eastern studies (he endowed the department lounge in White Hall), on the Jewish Studies Program, Cornell Hillel, and the establishment of kosher dining on campus,” said Ross Brann, the Milton R. Konvitz Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. “Bernie also traveled extensively on Cornell Adult University study tours pursuing his avid interest in archeology. He was a dear friend and his legacy at Cornell is remarkable.”
In 2000, Yudowitz was recognized as a Foremost Benefactor of the university. He was a member of the Council Committee for Student and Academic Services and formerly served on its advisory council, as well as the Cornell University Council. He and Evelyn were early and active proponents and supporters of Jewish studies at Cornell.
In 2014, Yudowitz gave a gift to name the atrium of the new Cornell Health facility in honor of Susan Murphy ’73, Ph.D. ’94, former vice president for student and academic services.
In addition to his Cornell degree, Yudowitz earned a J.D. from Rutgers Law School (1961) and received his M.D. from the University of Glasgow School of Medicine (1966). He served as medical director of Bridgewater State Hospital, director of psychiatric services for the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, and director of psychiatry and director of the pain management unit at the New England Rehabilitation Hospital. He had teaching positions on the faculty of Boston College Law School, Boston University Law Medicine Institute, the Boston University Graduate School of Social Work and Harvard Medical School.
Yudowitz is survived by his wife and their four children, Michael, Anne, Lawrence and Martin ’89, and three grandchildren.