A Man in Full: Remembering Howard Leibowitz ’74

As another election season heats up in Boston, a key player is missing: Howard Leibowitz ’74.

Howard, who passed away in December 2015, was a voracious consumer of everything related to politics. He brought nearly unerring instincts and a keen understanding of complex political dynamics — starting with the wards and precincts, all the way up to the federal level — to his long career as a public servant and senior aide to Boston Mayors Ray Flynn and Thomas Menino.

Howard was also a passionate devotee of sports, including those played at a certain campus in Waltham. If he bumped into a fellow Brandeis alum in Boston City Hall, he could, without hesitation, deliver a salient analysis of the current political season and then, just as fluently, recap the latest performance of the Brandeis basketball or baseball team. Howard was extraordinarily proud of his alma mater.

As a longtime adviser to Flynn and Menino — serving in positions as diverse as press secretary, director of intergovernmental relations, and senior policy aide — Howard focused on policies consistent with Brandeis’ progressive roots: community investment, affordable housing, homelessness and urban food policy. He managed to get things done through his unassuming nature and encyclopedic knowledge of Boston’s political movers and shakers. He not only knew whom to call to push forward an affordable-housing project, but he understood precisely when to make the call and was elegant in framing the issues to align them with that individual’s interests.

Before urban food policy was a hot topic, Howard recognized the importance of providing access to locally grown, healthy food for Boston residents. Because of Howard, Bostonians don’t have to travel far to find fresh kale, locally raised chicken or aged goat cheeses.

What truly made Howard unique, though, was his never-ending affection for his colleagues and his tireless dedication to making sure Boston’s next generation of leaders could perform meaningful work that changed the lives of residents. We are two examples. There are many, many more. And none of us could adequately convey our appreciation for all he did.

While we miss Howard, his legacy lives on — through the Boston family who is safely housed in one of the city’s affordable-housing units, through the formerly homeless residents living in supportive housing and through the young leaders he mentored.

As Howard would say, proudly donning his well-worn Brandeis baseball cap in his City Hall office, “Go, Judges!”

— Rebecca Frisch ’03 and Lisa Pollack ’94

Rebecca Frisch ’03, vice president of government relations at TD Bank in Boston, served as senior adviser to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Lisa Pollack ’94, who has served in several roles with the city of Boston, is currently director of media and public relations in the Department of Neighborhood Development.

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