Leslie (Meltzer) Aronzon named to Board of Trustees
She was raised in the famed 90210 zip code of Beverly Hills, but Leslie (Meltzer) Aronzon ’84 grew up intellectually at Brandeis. She found the coursework stimulating, the faculty inspiring and her fellow students both engaged and engaging.
“At Brandeis I developed an intellectual curiosity that I didn’t have before,” Aronzon said. “I had conversations with my peers that I never had with my friends from home. We talked about the presidential election (Reagan vs. Carter) and the issues of the day. It really jazzed me up.”
Grateful for what Brandeis gave her, Aronzon has been an active alumna since graduation. She was recently elected to the Brandeis Board of Trustees for a four-year term. She also serves as vice president of the Alumni Association, has helped organize reunions and is a member of the Alumni Admissions Council. She has hosted many Brandeis events at her home in Los Angeles, and generously supports the Aronzon Family Scholarship and the Alumni Annual Fund.
“I am so honored to be a part of the Board of Trustees,” Aronzon said. “Brandeis has always been a big part of my life. Brandeis is small but makes such a big difference in the world. It is really going places.”
“Going places” was the theme of Aronzon’s college search. She wanted out of California, did not want to spend four years in the Midwest and was intrigued by Brandeis. She enrolled in August 1980 without having visited campus.
Aronzon planned to major in chemistry but took a liking to economics, her ultimate major. She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris during the spring of 1983, and wrote her senior thesis on the valuation of the French franc vs. the U.S. dollar.
At Brandeis, the California girl experienced a season’s initial snow for the first time (she had skied before). Not everyone shared her enthusiasm for the cold, white stuff, including her freshman roommate (and best friend to this day), Susan (Hills) Goldman ’84.
“I was so excited at the first snow and woke up Susan and wanted to go sledding,” Aronzon recalled. “She just rolled her eyes and said, ‘I’m going back to sleep.’ ”
Aronzon headed home after graduation, and found that the Brandeis name resonated even 3,000 miles from Waltham. Although she didn’t have the required accounting background, she landed a job with a consulting firm because the hiring manager knew she had been taught to think and solve problems at Brandeis.
Five years after graduation, she earned an MBA and finished at the top of her class at the University of Southern California. She joined Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin, where she served as a vice president and specialized in bankruptcies and distressed mergers and acquisitions.
Since leaving the firm several years ago, she devotes all of her time to her family (husband Paul and sons Max, Jack and Asher), her children’s schools and a variety of philanthropic endeavors, including the Jewish Free Loan Association of LA.
Dinner conversation at the Aronzon home tends to be intellectual and topical, similar to the level of discourse that opened the world of ideas for her at Brandeis.
“To this day, my children watch the news and they have to tell me about what is going on,” she said. “Sometimes we talk about Sponge Bob, but usually we talk about substantive issues.”