April 24, 2017
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,
I am pleased to welcome Ira A. Jackson as Brandeis’ new senior vice president for communications and external relations. In this key role, Ira will provide leadership for Brandeis’ relations with the community, government, businesses, and other institutions locally, nationally, and globally, and will assist the president and others in advancing and communicating Brandeis’ intellectual and institutional contributions.
Ira brings a wonderful combination of skills, ideas, and relevant experience to Brandeis. His ability to communicate and to implement new approaches will be useful as Brandeis embarks upon a period of renewal and transformation. He has energy and creativity, and a proven track record of working with complex organizations to achieve big things in a way that makes people feel good about being part of the change.
Ira comes to Brandeis with a unique background that includes senior-level positions in government, business, and academia, and deep roots in Boston. In government, he served as chief of staff to former Boston Mayor Kevin White and later as commissioner of revenue under former Governor Michael Dukakis, where his strategy of “honest, fair, and firm tax administration” was cited as a national model. In academia, he served as senior associate dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard during its formative years and later director of its Center for Business and Government. He also served as president of the Arizona State University Foundation, as dean of the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, and, most recently, as vice provost at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
In business, Ira served for a dozen years as executive vice president and director of external affairs at BankBoston, whose pioneering role in inner-city banking and community involvement received widespread recognition. He has also played leadership roles in a number of civic initiatives, including chairing the boards of the United Way’s Success by Six Campaign, the New England Council, and the World Affairs Council of Boston, as well as being deeply involved with City Year, Facing History and Ourselves, the New England Holocaust Memorial, and the Boston Foundation.
Ira is a graduate of Harvard College, received a Master of Public Administration at the Kennedy School, and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. He is the author, with Jane Nelson, of “Profits With Principles: Seven Strategies for Delivering Value with Values” (Doubleday, 2004).
“I am thrilled to join Ron Liebowitz and his talented colleagues at an institution that plays such a unique role in higher education,” says Ira. “While I will leave some of my heart at UMass Boston, Brandeis’ commitment to social justice and to research that matters for society totally aligns with my values and life’s work. At a time when higher education is challenged on many fronts to reflect diverse opinions and people, which Brandeis does; when our nation is so desperately in need of the kind of active citizenship that Louis Brandeis personified and advocated; and when Jewish values and concerns for both learning and justice are so relevant as an answer to intolerance and ignorance, Brandeis feels like the right place at the right time.”
I would also like to thank and acknowledge Judy Glasser, who has served as interim senior vice president for communications for the past two years, for her professionalism and grace, and announce that she will remain at Brandeis, ensuring continuity and working in close partnership with Ira.