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In Memoriam: Rabbi Philip Hiat, Former MMC Campus Minister

Rabbi Philip Hiat, a beloved former campus minister and adjunct professor at MMC, passed away in September at the age of 95. His life and decades-long effort to build bridges with other faiths were memorialized by the New York Times.

Rabbi Hiat served in the 147th Regimental Combat Team, South Pacific Theater of Operation with the U.S. Army. After college, he became an ordained Rabbi by the Jewish Institute of Religion. He also earned an M.H.L. (Aramaic) and Doctor of Divinity H.C. from Hebrew Union College’s Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Hiat served MMC from 2003 to 2016, first as an adjunct professor in the Philosophy and Religious Studies department before becoming campus minister in 2009. That same year, he received the Marymount Manhattan College Presidential Award, and in 2016, President Kerry Walk conferred upon him an honorary doctoral degree in recognition of his lifetime achievements and many contributions to the MMC community.

In remembering him, President Walk said: “Rabbi Hiat’s commitment to educating the ‘whole student’ made him a revered and beloved member of our campus community. He personified the deep connection among heart, mind, and spirit and provided wise and gracious guidance to our students in their exploration of the human experience.”

In his time at MMC, Rabbi Hiat also served as a spiritual advisor to the campus Hillel group, organizing an interfaith Seder and supporting Hillel’s observance of Chanukah and Purim, as well as their construction of a Sukkot booth. Rabbi Hiat also organized commemorations of Kristallnacht.

“It was such an honor to work with Rabbi Hiat at MMC Hillel,” said Nava Silton, Ph.D., a psychology professor, the director of the College’s Center for Health, Human Development, and Creativity, and Hillel’s current faculty advisor. “His warmth, knowledge, and humor made my experience and the student experience truly special.”

The College extends its deepest sympathies to Rabbi Hiat’s family. You can share your memories of Rabbi Hiat or condolences here.

Published: November 04, 2022