A Short History of Brandeis

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Students departing the Castle for an outing, ca. 1948.

The vision for Brandeis originated in the wake of World War II, when educational opportunities were not always readily available for women, immigrants and members of ethnic, religious and racial minorities. Members of the American Jewish community came together to create a place for research and learning that would open its doors, without discrimination, to all who valued educational excellence.

The university was named for the late Louis D. Brandeis, the first Jewish Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it was shaped by the ideals he represented: passion for learning, commitment to social justice and equality, respect for creativity and diversity, and concern for the world.

Coeducational classes began in 1948 on the site of the former Middlesex University in Waltham, Mass., with 107 students and 13 faculty members.

Guided for 20 years by its founding president, Abram L. Sachar, Brandeis grew quickly, establishing itself as an important national and international center for teaching and research. In 1961, only 13 years after the university's founding, Phi Beta Kappa accreditation was conferred. Under each succeeding president, the university continued to grow in breadth and stature, while maintaining the very human scale of its educational environment and its solid liberal arts focus.

In 1985, Brandeis was elected to membership in the Association of American Universities, which represents the 61 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

Today, Brandeis holds a respected place in the top tier of academic institutions in this country and the world. The university is widely recognized for the excellence of its teaching, the quality and diversity of its student body and the outstanding research of its faculty.