Scholarship fund and chair honor President Jehuda Reinharz's commitment to aid and humanities

Trustees, Jacobson Family Foundation gifts create new assistance for students, director for Mandel

Photo/Mike Lovett

President Reinharz and Mandel Center Director Ramie Targoff

Throughout his presidency, Jehuda Reinharz has been a champion for many causes. Two that stand out are his unwavering support for educational opportunity through financial aid and his deep commitment to the humanities and the liberal arts.

Now, as his 16½- year tenure nears completion, he has been honored with two major gifts that commemorate his historic contributions to Brandeis and reflect both of these priorities.

  • Members of the Board of Trustees have pledged nearly $1.2 million to the Jehuda Reinharz Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will assist students in need of financial aid for years to come. The fund, which is expected to increase, is entirely trustee supported.
  • The Jacobson Family Foundation has made a gift of a chair to fund the directorship of the newly dedicated Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis. The incumbent, Ramie Targoff, a professor of English, will be the first to assume the title of Jehuda Reinharz Director of the Mandel Center.

Reinharz was informed of the gifts during a recent Board of Trustees dinner in his honor.

Trustee Ronald Daniel, who co-chaired the event, said, “These gifts are tributes to Jehuda for his more than 16 years of extraordinary service to Brandeis. They reflect what we know are his passions – undergraduate financial aid and reinforcing the university’s commitment to the humanities.”

Trustee Jonathon Jacobson said he and his wife, Joanna, wanted to commemorate “one of the crowning achievements of Jehuda’s presidency – the Mandel Center for the Humanities.”

“Jehuda is an historian and, given that, we could think of no better way to honor his leadership and vision than to support a lasting and world-class humanities program at Brandeis,” said Jacobson.

Reinharz said he is deeply honored by both gifts.

“To have a scholarship named for me is very gratifying,” he said. “As a person who benefited from full scholarships and fellowships as both an undergraduate and a graduate student, and as president of a university where over 70 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid, I am very conscious of the importance of scholarships. They enable some of the best students in the world to come to Brandeis regardless of their ability to pay.

“I have enormous appreciation for the Jacobson Family Foundation, which chose to attach my name to the Mandel Center for the Humanities director’s chair,” he continued.

“To hold a chair at a university is among the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a member of the faculty. To have my name on the directorship of the Mandel Center is doubly gratifying given the fact that I am about to become president of the Mandel Foundation, whose name graces the humanities center,” he added.

Targoff said the gift of the chair from the Jacobson Family Foundation sends two messages.

“This is both a testament to the achievements of President Reinharz, who has now left an incredible legacy to the humanities at Brandeis, and a wonderful validation of the importance of the Mandel Center,” she said. “We are all immensely grateful to these generous families and foundations for bolstering the role of the humanities on our campus, and I hope to use this new position to help implement further the exciting ideas and programs that are already germinating in our new building.”

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