Brandeis at 75

Coming home to Brandeis

A person high fives the Brandeis Judge mascot's gavel

By Kennedy Ryan
Photography by Dan Holmes and Gaelen Morse
October 16, 2023

Alumni, families, and friends came together throughout a gorgeous fall weekend to commemorate the Brandeis’ 75th Anniversary from Oct. 13 to 15.

John-Andrew Morrison ’95, a Tony-nominated performer, stopped by the Welcome Reception, held in a giant tent set up on the lawn outside Shapiro Campus Center, to mingle with friends on Friday evening. He planned to return the next day to speak on one of the weekend’s panels, hosted by radio journalist and podcast producer Guy Raz ’96. He said his love for Brandeis continues to bring him back to campus.

John-Andrew Morrison
Tony-Nominated Performer and Theater Arts Alumni John-Andrew Morrison ’95 during the Welcome Reception.

“Brandeis is special to me because it was the first place that encouraged me to do this,” said Morrison, reflecting on the encouragement faculty gave him to pursue the performing arts. “It’s the first place that said ‘Come try.’”

Alumni pose for a photo during the Welcome Reception
Alumni pose for a photo during the Welcome Reception
A student plays the trumpet during a performance at the Welcome Reception
Members of the Brandeis MAD (Music and Dance) Band perform during the Welcome Reception.
Mark Beatty talks to others at the Welcome Reception
The welcome reception offered a chance to reconnect with classmates for Mark Beatty ’90.

Mark Beatty ’90 spent the Welcome Reception catching up with long-time friends and classmates. The former psychology and history major said the value of friendship and the unique way Brandeis carved his future.

“Brandeis has provided me with lifelong friends, a fantastic education, and the ability to think differently,” Beatty said. “I draw on my liberal arts education all the time, even though I do technical work. I think I was the only one in my class to fulfill the language requirement learning Egyptian hieroglyphics.”

Among the sea of long-time friends, current students and families spent Friday evening reconnecting. Visiting campus to spend Family Weekend with her daughter, Zahra Lohoue ’27, Valerie Tchikanda was taking it all in.

Zahra Lohoue and Valerie Tchikanda at the Welcome Reception
Zahra Lohoue ‘27 and her mom Valerie Tchikanda during the Welcome Reception.

“Zhara is my only child and I haven’t seen her since August,” said Tchikanda. “It’s great to learn about everything the school has to offer her. I’m enjoying seeing where she is growing.”

Saturday’s events gave visitors the opportunity to enjoy some food and participate in activities for all ages.

Ron and Jessica speaking with a person.

The anniversary weekend also offered a special opportunity for class gatherings. Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz and his wife, Jessica, greeted alumni at the 50th reunion for the Class of 1973 on Saturday.

People wait in line at food trucks
Attendees queue up for food trucks at the Homecoming Tailgate.
Children enjoy the bouncy house
Kids play at the Homecoming Tailgate.

The weekend also featured a solar eclipse. The Alumni Association provided special glasses for a safe viewing experience.

Jon Stern ’02 and Becky (Smith) Stern ’03 brought their two children to the homecoming tailgate event outside Gosman Sports and Convocation Center ahead of a men’s soccer game Saturday afternoon. 

A family looks up at a solar eclipse wearing eclipse glasses
Rebecca Stern ’03, Jonathan Stern ’02 and their children Ben and Alex, gaze at the partial solar eclipse at the Homecoming Tailgate.

The pair met during their time at Brandeis. “We met at a party in the mods,” said Smith. After realizing they were both English majors, they quickly hit it off. They live in Natick, Massachusetts with their two children.

Linda Jack ’27 gave her family a glimpse of her Brandeis experience during the weekend. Her mother, Teresa, made the trip from Philadelphia.

The Jack family looks at Brandeis spirit gear
From left, Cassidy, Linda ’27, Teresa and Elizabeth Jack, look at Brandeis spirit gear at the homecoming tailgate.

“We finally get to see our kid that we sent off to college,” said Teresa Jack. “Being here with other families has given our whole family a chance to experience Brandeis.”

First year students Evan Reif ’27 and Marco Ratermann ’27 enjoyed spending time with their classmates while meeting other members of the Brandeis community.

Two students playing cornhole with a bouncy house in the background
Evan Reif ’27 and Marco Ratermann ’27 tossed beanbags at the Homecoming Tailgate.

“It’s been really nice to meet the alumni and see the school come together,” said Ratermann. “There’s a lot of school spirit this weekend.”

The Judge mascot gets the crowd in the bleachers excited
Fans attend the men’s soccer game.
Ron says cheers
President Ron Liebowitz raises a glass to the Brandeis community and award receipients.
On Saturday evening, crowds flowed into the tent on the Great Lawn for the Diamond Celebration, which included the presentation of the Alumni Achievement Awards to distinguished alumni and the presentation of The Brandeis National Committee Sachar Award to broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff.
Winners of the Alumni Achievement Award stand with awards next to President Ron Liewbowitz
Alumni Achievement Award winners (l-r) Cheryl Pegus ’84, Curtis Tearte ’73, Frederick Alt ’71, and Chuck Israels ’59 are presented with their awards by President Ron Liebowitz. 
Photo Credit: Heratch Ekmekjian 
Side profile of Judy Woodruff
Broadcast journalist and BNC Sachar Award winner Judy Woodruff addresses the crowd. 

Following the awards ceremonies, the crowd let loose and danced to 10-piece band "The Connection."

Alumni and faculty members dancing at the Diamond Celebration
Alumni Board Vice President Napoleon Lherisson ’11 dances with faculty members Michael Rosbash and Dorothee Kern.
Photo Credit: Heratch Ekmekjian
Crowd dances and sings along with band member.
Heratch Ekmekjian