Rabbi Dr. Bernard Lander (June 17, 1915 – February 8, 2010), founder and first president of Touro College, was a social scientist and educator, a leader in the Jewish community and a pioneer in Jewish and general higher education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1936 from Yeshiva College and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 1938, serving as Rabbi at Baltimore’s Congregation Beth Jacob.

Returning to New York City in 1944, he earned a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University and taught as a professor of sociology for over two decades at Hunter College and Yeshiva University, where he established the university's graduate schools of education, psychology and social work and served as dean of its Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies from 1954 to 1969. For eight years he served as a senior director of a national study for the University of Notre Dame of South Bend, Indiana on the problems of youth. He authored a book of his research in Baltimore entitled Towards an Understanding of Juvenile Delinquency as well as numerous articles in the field of sociology. He also served as a consultant to the Maryland State Commission on Juvenile Delinquency. Dr. Lander was honored by the Council of New York State College Presidents for his lifetime contributions to higher education. A former president of the Queens Jewish Center in Forest Hills, Queens, he was also an Honorary Vice President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

Dr. Lander was the recipient of the landmark ruling by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein concerning the Orthodox position on Christian-Jewish dialogue in a 1967 letter published in Igros Moshe. Dr. Lander was one of three associate directors of New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia's Committee on Unity, established in 1944 as the city's first Commission on Human Rights. The multi-faith commission prepared the first civil rights legislation for 4 New York State. He later served as a consultant to three United States Presidents and was part of the seven-member commission that established the historic "War on Poverty" program in the U.S. He served as a consultant to the White House Conference on Children and Youth, on an advisory council on public assistance established by Congress, and was a member of the President's Advisory Committee on Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Crime under the Johnson and Kennedy administrations.

In 1970, he founded Touro College and presided over its growth into a multi-campus, international university with approximately 17,500 students at campus locations in New York, California, Florida, Nevada, Israel, Russia, France and Germany. Touro offers programs in liberal arts, medical schools and a law school, among others.