Expanded Alumni Weekend Open to All Classes

Starting next year, you won’t have to check the date on your diploma before deciding to attend the annual early-June celebration of all things Brandeis.

The weekend formerly known as Reunion is getting a makeover. Now, a re-imagined and newly named Alumni Weekend will invite all Brandeis graduates to return to campus for a three-day gala, giving you the opportunity to reconnect with fellow grads from every class, make new friends, visit with favorite professors and relive special memories.

The inaugural Alumni Weekend rolls out on June 8-10, 2018.

“Many alumni have expressed a desire to reunite on campus with friends they know from other classes, student organizations, arts groups or athletic teams,” Alumni Association President Mark Surchin ’78 explains. “Alumni Weekend provides a perfect venue for them to do that.”

Alumni Weekend will retain the most-popular elements of Reunion, including Alumni College, the Ralph Norman Barbecue, Kegs and Kickball, and Ollie’s Family Fun, while adding new programming based around shared interests. Student clubs, programs and athletic teams will be encouraged to organize their own mini-reunions during the weekend with guidance from Alumni Weekend staff.

The celebration will continue to recognize classes commemorating milestone reunions.

“We recognize that people’s Brandeis experiences transcend the year they graduated,” says Patsy Fisher, vice president of alumni relations. “Alumni Weekend will celebrate the special bond among Brandeis alumni — connections built and sustained by experiences shared both inside and outside the classroom.”

Mark your calendar now. For more details, go to alumni.brandeis.edu/alumniweekend.

Mark Surchin ’78
Mark Surchin ’78

Come One, Come All

As a Brandeis alumnus, I know how enjoyable it is to gather with friends from college, people with whom I studied, volunteered, debated and socialized. That’s why I am so excited about our new Alumni Weekend, which will allow more Brandeisians to return to campus and reconnect than ever before.

Retaining the fun activities of Reunion, Alumni Weekend, which will be held on June 8-10, 2018, will be open to all alumni and their families, not just those from specific Reunion years. Many of you told us how much you wanted to see friends from other classes, and how close your bonds are with people you know from student clubs, sports teams or other organizations.

So, in the months leading up to our inaugural Alumni Weekend, please reach out to your fellow alumni and encourage them to return to campus. Perhaps you would like to reminisce with other members of The Justice editorial staff or shoot some hoops with your old intramural basketball team.

Of course, there are many other ways to maintain your connections to Brandeis after graduation.

In August, for instance, I took part in a Brandeis Travelers trip to the Canadian Rockies (see photo). Beyond the breathtaking vistas and the fresh mountain air, the experience was made rewarding by being with fellow alumni. Our faculty leader, Charles Chester, a lecturer in environmental studies, enriched the expedition by giving us insights into conservation and international environmental policy. The Brandeis Travelers program schedules trips throughout the year to destinations around the world.

Being a Brandeis alum isn’t just about the education you received — it’s about the connections you made. I invite you to take any opportunity you can to celebrate the bonds you forged on campus, and I look forward to seeing you at Alumni Weekend.


Mark Surchin ’78
President, Brandeis Alumni Association

Turning Back the Clock: Reunion 2017

Members from 13 classes — 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012 — returned to campus June 9-11 for Reunion 2017, enjoying a host of activities that encouraged attendees to renew cherished bonds and make new ones.

“A joy of Reunions is not only spending time with old friends but sitting down to talk with people you may have forgotten or may never have known,” says Diane Bernbaum ’67, P’04, who celebrated her 50th Reunion alongside about 100 classmates. “We are a community of interesting and thoughtful people.”

Reunion offered many attendees their first opportunity to meet the new Brandeis president, Ron Liebowitz, who participated in a conversation with alumni on Saturday afternoon, then visited class dinners with his wife, Jessica.

The 13 Reunion classes raised more than $3 million in support of the university.

Next year, the Reunion tradition is being expanded into an Alumni Weekend that invites all classes back to campus (see story on facing page), giving attendees many more opportunities to catch up, reminisce and form new friendships.

Alumni Association Board Welcomes New Members

Seven new members — five members-at-large and two alumni club presidents — were elected to two-year terms on the Brandeis Alumni Association’s board of directors.

In addition, Daniel Acheampong ’11 and Rebecca Bachman ’13 were appointed co-chairs of Bold (Brandeisians of the Last Decade), and former members-at-large Jose Perez ’75 and Amy Cohen ’85 were elected board vice presidents.

“We are excited to welcome these new members to the board of directors,” says Trustee Mark Surchin ’78, president of the Alumni Association. “They bring a diversity of experiences that will enhance our efforts to connect Brandeis alumni with one another and with the university.”


James Felton ’85 is managing partner of Greenberg & Bass, in Los Angeles, practicing in the areas of business, commercial, bankruptcy and real estate litigation. After graduating from Brandeis, he earned a JD from UCLA in 1988. Active with the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, he has received the organization’s Jules Ratner Leadership Award. Felton formerly served as an Alumni Association member-at-large (1998-2001) and president of the Alumni Club of Southern California (1994-98). He chaired his 30th Reunion and is the Class of 1985 correspondent. He and his wife, Robin, have three children.

Mohit Gourisaria ’09 joins Keker, Van Nest & Peters, a boutique litigation firm in San Francisco, as an associate this fall. He recently completed a clerkship on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit after working as an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He received a JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM from the London School of Economics. A Wien Scholar, Gourisaria majored in theater arts and economics at Brandeis. He also served as a community adviser and a teaching assistant for the economics department, and participated in theater productions and mock-trial competitions.

Fred Kessler ’75, P’10, is special counsel at the Saiber law firm, in Florham Park, New Jersey, where he specializes in mediation and arbitration. Previously, he was a judge on the Superior Court of New Jersey. After graduating from Brandeis with a degree in economics, Kessler received a JD from Harvard Law School. At Brandeis, he was manager of the men’s basketball team and business manager at WBRS. He has served as president of the Alumni Club of New Jersey, interviewed prospective students for the Alumni Admissions Council and helped organize class Reunions. He and his wife, Roberta, have two children: Matthew ’10, IBS MA’11, and Lisa.

Alyssa Sanders ’89 is a licensed clinical social worker and professional actress in the Washington, D.C., area. She serves as partner-agencies administrator at the Linkages to Learning collaborative, which provides support for at-risk children and families in high-poverty schools in Montgomery County, Maryland. She earned an MA in government from the University of Texas at Austin and is an Actors’ Equity Association membership candidate. Sanders was the first president of the Alumni Club of Houston; served on her 5th, 10th and 15th Reunion committees; and co-chaired her 20th and 25th Reunions.

Tony Stern ’08, IBS MA’09, is a senior analyst at EverPoint Asset Management. He formerly worked at Boston Provident and the Meredith Whitney Advisory Group. As a student, he belonged to the Investment Club, serving as its president during his junior and senior years. An active alumnus, he was a presidential appointee to the alumni board last year and has helped solicit gifts to the Brandeis Fund from fellow alumni. He still lives with his roommate from freshman year. Says Stern, “Brandeis was instrumental in my development both personally and professionally, and I jump at the opportunity to give back to the university in this way.”

Bold Co-Chairs

Daniel Acheampong ’11 is pursuing an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an MPP at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He was previously an associate at Summit Partners, where he managed the private-equity firm’s due-diligence process to raise investment funds. Earlier in his career, he was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. At Brandeis, he majored in economics and minored in politics. He was a Posse Scholar, a Gates Millennium Scholar and Student Union president. Since graduation, he has served as a class agent and helped organize his 5th Reunion.

Rebecca Bachman ’13 is events manager at Change for Kids, a nonprofit that partners with elementary-school leaders in low-income communities to provide targeted leadership, volunteers and program support. At Brandeis, she studied sociology and education, and was a Waltham Group coordinator and Orientation leader. Since graduating, she has served as a class agent and helped organize the Waltham Group’s 50th anniversary celebration during the 2016-17 academic year. Her sister Kimberlee ’08 also graduated from Brandeis.

Alumni Club Presidents

Addie “Adi” Shmuel ’08 (Alumni Club of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey) is a speech-language pathologist at Virtua Health System, in southern New Jersey. She earned her master’s in speech-language pathology from Temple in 2012. As a Brandeis student, she was active with Hillel, participated in student government and served as senior representative to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. She also worked as a teacher assistant at the Lemberg Children’s Center, which led to her career in speech-language pathology. She has been an active member of her alumni club and served on her 5th Reunion committee.

Jackie Simons ’89 (Alumni Club of Southern California) is a private tutor, and former teacher and school administrator. She earned a master’s in education from Harvard, and has taught in public, private and Jewish day schools in Connecticut, Massachusetts and California. As a Brandeis student, she volunteered at Orientation and served as a campus tour guide for the Office of Admissions. She credits Mark and Judy Aronson, both ’55, for her initial involvement with her alumni club. She has been a member of the club’s steering committee, chaired events, interviewed prospective students for the Alumni Admissions Council and served on her 15th Reunion committee.


Photo from Katz-Lapides wedding

Many Brandeis alumni attended the wedding of Monica Katz-Lapides ’06 and Jeff LaBoskey on Feb. 19 at
The NWBLK, in San Francisco.

Photo from Marwell wedding

Two generations of alumni joined the celebration as Gabe Marwell ’10 married Shea Carney on April 29 in Alexandria, Virginia. Many of Gabe’s classmates attended, along with classmates of his parents, David ’73
and Judy ’71, P’10.

Photo from Ross wedding

Adam Ross ’10, son of Deborah Zecher ’77, P’10, married Eliya Freund in March in Jerusalem. Rabbi Avram Mlotek ’09 officiated. Many alumni attended, including Deborah’s sister, Elaine ’83, and brother, Steven ’80.

Photo from Steinman wedding

Last winter, Noam Steinman ’15 married Leora Jaffe in Jerusalem. 

Photo from Izbicky wedding
A number of alumni helped celebrate the marriage of Marla (Merchut) Izbicky ’12 and Nicole Izbicky ’11 on Nov. 5, 2016, in the couple’s hometown, Chicago.
Photo from Medley wedding
Brandeisians cheered as Shayna Medley ’12 married Jordan Warsoff ’11 on May 28 in Waltham.
Photo from Steinberg wedding
Jessie Steinberg ’10 married Shaun Hautly on March 17 in St. Louis, Missouri. Anne Schweitzer, Rebecca (Shapiro) Ruberg and Leah Levy, all ’10, were members of the bridal party.
Photo from Metzger bat mitzvah
The Gucci Girls traveled to Rochester, New York, to celebrate the bat mitzvah of Mara (Posner) Metzger’s daughter Zoe. From left: Mara, Ileen (Epstein) Hattem, Belinda (Krifcher) Lehman and Eva (Pollin) Cowen,
all ’88. As seniors, they lived together in an off-campus dwelling known as the Gucci House.
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