Elaine Schuster is a visionary community leader whose commitment to education, health care and human rights has improved the lives of the disadvantaged.
She co-founded Operation P.E.A.C.E. (Partnerships in Education and Community Enrichment) in Atlanta and Boston to provide mentoring, tutoring and life-skill training for inner-city children. As president of the New England Kidney Foundation, she led efforts to pass legislation to display organ donor information on driver’s licenses. She and her husband, Gerald, also established the Schuster Transplant Center and the Schuster Transplantation Research Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital to improve outcomes for transplant recipients. She is a board member of the William J. Clinton Foundation and belongs to the invitation-only International Women’s Forum, which works to better global leadership today and cultivate women leaders of tomorrow. She also served as a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for eight years.
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed her to serve as a public delegate to the United Nations General Assembly. There she convened a high-level panel of experts, including a representative from the U.S. Secretary of State’s office, to continue to publicize the plight of human trafficking victims and develop policies to end the practice worldwide.
The Schusters founded the Elaine and Gerald Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis in 2004. The pioneering institute, which lies at the nexus of journalism, public policy and social concerns, has distinguished itself through groundbreaking social justice and human rights reporting.
She has been recognized for her work by numerous organizations, including Franciscan Hospital for Children, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Daniel Marr Boys and Girls Club, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
Honorary Degree Citation
Your advocacy for the poor, the exploited and the marginalized — on both the national and international stage — is a true reflection of the social justice ethos that has inspired Brandeisians past and present. Your vision has expanded beyond advocacy into the arena of systemic change that seeks to heal the world’s problems. Your passion for the principle of investigative journalism as a priceless public good, crucial to democracy and human rights, has paved the way for groundbreaking social justice and human rights reporting, which has tackled fraud in international adoption, human trafficking and slavery, and wrongful convictions.
We are proud to call you a member of the Brandeis family, and we recognize your contributions to Brandeis and the world with our highest honor.