Inspiring Our Future

Ronald D. Liebowitz
Mike Lovett
Ronald D. Liebowitz

This is a year of exciting anniversaries at Brandeis.

In March, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Wien International Scholarship Program. The first scholarship program of its kind, WISP has brought 894 scholars from 115 countries to the university since its inception. The Heller School for Social Policy and Management is celebrating 60 years as a top-ranked professional school dedicated to improving the well-being of all members of society. Fifty years ago, the Department of African and African-American Studies was established in the wake of the student occupation of Ford Hall, as was the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program, the nation’s oldest continuous program of its kind, giving promising students from historically underrepresented and underserved communities a Brandeis education that includes significant mentoring and support. Brandeis International Business School is celebrating its 25th anniversary with record enrollments and growing international recognition.

And, of course, Brandeis itself is proudly marking its own 70th birthday.

A celebration of excellence in the classroom and beyond. An embrace of openness and diversity. A commitment to world-class, cutting-edge research. We all know firsthand that these strengths made Brandeis successful during its first seven decades. Now, as we recognize our many anniversaries and reflect upon our noteworthy accomplishments, we have an ideal opportunity to look ahead and chart our bold future.

In a speech titled “A Framework for Our Future,” which I delivered at a campus gathering on Oct. 29, I noted how Brandeis’ unique vitality lies in our unyielding commitment to academic excellence, defined by the opportunities that come with a highly personalized liberal-arts undergraduate education, and world-class research conducted by faculty and graduate students. This rare combination offers our undergraduates the scholarly, research, and creative opportunities not easily found elsewhere. By capitalizing on our distinctive strengths, Brandeis can reassert its place as a leader in higher education. I encourage you to learn more about the Framework for Our Future — and share your ideas and opinions — at www.brandeis.edu/framework.

In August, we welcomed the Class of 2022 to campus. With 907 students from 38 states and 30 countries — including 163 first-generation college students — Brandeis continues to provide a home to those from many backgrounds and life experiences, who enrich the educational experiences on campus. Our diversity will be further bolstered by the recent $10 million gift from Toshizo “Tom” Watanabe ’73. Each academic year, the newly created Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Program will support Watanabe Scholars who have studied or are currently studying at a top-tier Japanese university with which Brandeis has a relationship. Mr. Watanabe’s gift was inspired bythe university’s generosity in awarding him a Wien International Scholarship, which made it possible for him to attend Brandeis.

We have much more to celebrate on campus. In June, Brandeis received a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support, mentor, and foster the success of students from all backgrounds — especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups — in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In September, the university introduced a new applied math major, which will give our undergraduates the skills to tackle challenges in an increasingly quantitative, data driven world. And we had the pleasure of hosting a conversation between leading public intellectuals Cornel West and Robert George, who discussed the enduring relevance of a liberal arts education, and the importance to our democracy of having civil, empathetic debates across ideological divides.

Finally, we welcomed two new deans last summer. Dorothy Hodgson, an internationally renowned anthropologist and the former senior associate dean for academic affairs at Rutgers University’s School of Graduate Studies, began her work as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in August. And Kathryn Graddy, the Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Professor in Economics, became dean of Brandeis International Business School in July.

It has been a busy and exciting first half of the academic year, and, as we engage with our past while charting our future, we are only getting started. This is an exciting time to be a part of our dynamic institution. I sincerely hope you’ll join the conversation.

Best regards,

Ronald D. Liebowitz

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