Meet the President

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President Frederick Lawrence Photo by Mike Lovett

An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, Fred Lawrence is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes, which seems appropriate given the fact that Brandeis is named for the legendary Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, who served on the court from 1916 to 1939, and whose writings are still quoted frequently today.

Lawrence became Brandeis’ eighth president on Jan. 1, 2011, and has made an indelible impression on Brandeis through his outreach and easy rapport with students, his reaffirming commitment to the arts, his openness with faculty and staff and his tireless support of the university with alumni and friends.

Lawrence came to Brandeis from George Washington University Law School, where he was dean from 2005 to 2010. During his tenure there, he increased financial aid, recruited an impressive number of new faculty, expanded facilities and helped launch new programs nationally and internationally.

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Lawrence received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Williams College and a law degree in 1980 from Yale Law School. He began his legal career in 1980 as a clerk to a Federal judge, and later was named an assistant U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, where he became chief of the Civil Rights Unit.

In 1988, he joined the faculty of the Boston University School of Law and taught courses on civil rights enforcement and civil rights crimes, criminal law, and civil procedure. He also served as the school’s associate dean for academic affairs from 1996 to 1999. Lawrence received BU’s Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest teaching honor, in 1996.

Lawrence has written, lectured and testified widely on civil rights crimes and is the author of “Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law” (Harvard University Press, 1999), which examines bias-motivated violence and how such crimes are dealt with in the United States.

Lawrence is married to Kathy Lawrence, an academic who specializes in 19th-century American literature. They have two children, Miriam and Noah. Fred Lawrence enjoys hiking, old movies, professional sports and singing. He has performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with the New York Choral Society.

For more information, visit the President's Office website.