Bernard Revel was a Lithuanian Jew who immigrated to the United States in 1906, when a half-million European Jews came to New York City. He studied at the Rabbi Isaac Elhanan Theological Seminary. Later he received a master's degree from New York University and married the daughter of the founder of the Oklahoma Petroleum and Gasoline Company. In 1912, he became a U.S. citizen and received the first doctorate from Dropsie College of Philadelphia. He moved to Tulsa, OK, to manage the family oil business. Three years later he was invited to be president of a newly formed theological seminary in New York, to which Yeshiva College was added in 1928.