Press Release
Letter to the Community
Letter to the Board of Trustees
Letter to President Reinharz

Jehuda Reinharz Announces Intention to Resign as President of Brandeis University

Second-longest serving Brandeis president will continue role until successor is named

BOSTON — Jehuda Reinharz, 65, who has served as president of Brandeis University since 1994, announced Sept. 25 his intention to resign. At the request of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis, President Reinharz has agreed to continue to lead the University for the 2009-2010 academic year. He has also agreed to stay as President until a successor has been selected up until June 30, 2011, if necessary.

The Board of Trustees at Brandeis, in an unprecedented vote of support for President Reinharz, has requested that he continue working with the Board and the University in the role as President Emeritus, following the appointment of a new president. In that role, President Reinharz will be available to support the incoming president during his/her transition.

During his long tenure, President Reinharz has overseen the physical redevelopment of the Brandeis campus, raised $850 million for the University, substantially increased the diversity of the student body, and made it possible for any qualified student seeking a Brandeis education to access financial aid.

“For more than fifteen years, with the help of a talented staff and faculty and an engaged and active board, we have made significant progress in advancing the mission of Brandeis,” said President Reinharz. “It is now the appropriate time for me to move onto the next phase of my professional life. I also want to provide ample time for the Brandeis community to find its next leader.”

President Reinharz began his tenure at Brandeis in 1982 and served in multiple roles, including provost, prior to being named the seventh president of Brandeis in 1994. Since then, President Reinharz has been responsible for transforming the University’s facilities into state-of-the art teaching and learning environments through a campus-wide expansion and redevelopment that includes a new Science Center, Humanities Center and Student Center. He has also significantly increased the number of endowed chairs for faculty, and opened ten new research centers and institutes, including the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life; the Crown Center for Middle East Studies; and the Mandel Center for Jewish Education.

“Jehuda Reinharz has brought an extraordinary vision to this University. Under his leadership, Brandeis has become a stronger institution, with a national and international reputation for academic excellence,” said Mal Sherman, Chairman of the Brandeis Board of Trustees. “Few leaders in higher education today have demonstrated the level of commitment that Jehuda has, and we are all grateful for his service and his continued leadership.”

“Jehuda Reinharz has made significant and impressive contributions during his fifteen years as President of Brandeis University, not just as a University President, but also as a world-class fundraiser,” stated Jack Connors, Vice Chairman of the Brandeis Board of Trustees. “President Reinharz has given his heart and soul to Brandeis and all of us owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Born in Haifa, Israel, President Reinharz earned concurrent bachelor's degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, a master's degree in medieval Jewish history from Harvard University and a doctorate in Jewish history from Brandeis in 1972. He is the author of more than 100 articles and 23 books in various languages including "The Jew in the Modern World" (3rd edition 2010), one of the most widely adopted college texts in modern Jewish history. He is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards and serves on a large number of boards and advisory committees. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations.

In the coming weeks, the Board of Trustees will announce a presidential search committee. Upon his stepping down from the presidency, President Reinharz plans to move the domain of his work to the national and international level, where he hopes to address issues facing the Jewish community and remain as President Emeritus of Brandeis.

Abram L. Sachar was the founding President of Brandeis and led the University for 20 years.



September 24, 2009

To the Brandeis Community:

I wanted to let you know that I have made the decision to step down from the presidency of Brandeis University. I have reached the conclusion that now is the right time for me to focus on the next chapter of my career. I have notified the Board of Trustees and they have requested that I continue in my role for this upcoming academic year and stay on as president until a successor has been selected up until June 30, 2011, if necessary. Following the completion of my term as President of Brandeis, I expect to be the president of a significant foundation, where I can address issues facing the Jewish community at the national and international level.

Serving Brandeis for nearly three decades has been a great honor, which I have enjoyed immensely. Ours is an active, engaged community; one that is both intellectually strong and fiercely passionate; it is one that has never failed to make me proud to be a part of Brandeis. I believe the future is very bright for the University and I am confident that my successor will take Brandeis to even greater heights.

I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who have helped make Brandeis one of the great universities in this country.

Jehuda Reinharz, President

Brandeis University

Below you will find my letter to Mal Sherman, Chairman of the Brandeis Board of Trustees, and his response.



August 31, 2009

Mr. Malcolm Sherman
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA  02454

Dear Mal,

I am writing to inform you of my intent to resign as President of Brandeis University. I am letting you know now so that ample time is available to plan for a smooth transition. 

As you can imagine, I do so with a great mix of emotions: pride at what we have collectively achieved over these last sixteen years; confidence that this is the right juncture to hand the reins over to the next leader; and a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia and fondness for the Brandeis family that has been my own for almost thirty years. During my tenure at Brandeis, I have had the opportunity to work in partnership with some of the brightest minds in academia. 

It is now time for me to enter the next chapter of my professional life. I plan to continue to serve in the nonprofit arena at the national and international level where I can address issues facing the Jewish community. I have already been approached by two foundations to run their organizations at the conclusion of my time at Brandeis. 

I feel strongly that this is the right time for me personally to move on to a new challenge. Many of the goals that I set out for my presidency have been accomplished. I will leave the University in good condition with a strong foundation on which to build in the future. The Brandeis of today is significantly different than it was sixteen years ago. It is a stronger brand, with a national and international reputation for academic excellence. It is dramatically more diverse in its student body. It offers a substantially larger curriculum with new creative areas of study. It has state-of-the-art facilities that enhance the teaching and learning experience.

The challenges facing all educational institutions of higher learning in the coming years are considerable. I remain steadfast in my commitment to leading Brandeis until new leadership is in place and will work tirelessly with the campus community and friends of the University to ensure Brandeis’ success. I have enjoyed the challenge of leading Brandeis and will always be ready to be helpful in any way I can. 


Jehuda Reinharz, President
Brandeis University



September 24, 2009

President Jehuda Reinharz
Brandeis University
Waltham, MA 02454

Dear Jehuda,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I accept your letter of resignation with reluctance but with the understanding that you have thought long and hard about this decision. As you know, we would have greatly preferred that you complete your term. But we appreciate your willingness to continue leading Brandeis for this academic year and until a successor has been named. We also understand that your commitment to stay on as President will not go beyond June 30, 2011. 

While at this time it is difficult to think about Brandeis in the absence of you as its visionary, we feel fortunate that you will hold the position of President Emeritus, working with the Board and Brandeis following your tenure as president.

When you became President in 1994, you set ambitious goals for yourself and for the University. Your dedication to the achievement of these goals has been extraordinary. While many leaders of higher education are professionally fulfilled after a few years of service and a few accomplishments, your unusually long commitment to the Brandeis community is a testament to your character and devotion.

In partnership with your talented staff and faculty, you have succeeded in strengthening all aspects of the University from the physical plant to the curriculum to university finances. You have guided this University in prosperous and difficult times with an unwavering focus on providing all students with an exceptional education.

Under your leadership, we have witnessed a heightened profile within the international academic community and an exceptionally diverse student body ethnically, racially, religiously, and geographically. 

One of your accomplishments that I am most proud of as Chairman of the Board is the increase in financial assistance to our student body and indeed that 72 percent of our students receive some form of financial aid. As we both know, access to education changes one’s life. We need only look at our impressive alumni who have made tangible imprints on all sectors of our society.

Your pursuit of excellence on behalf of Brandeis has been incredible, and I feel privileged to have worked alongside you for the past sixteen years. Please know that we all recognize that your hard work and dedication have kept this University on its path of greatness and will allow us to continue to flourish in the future. All of us on the Board of Trustees have the utmost gratitude and admiration for your leadership and stewardship. 


Malcolm Sherman
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Brandeis University