Myra Hiatt Kraft ’64

Myra Hiatt Kraft ’64

Myra Hiatt Kraft

Myra Hiatt Kraft first came to Brandeis as a child in the company of her father, Jacob Hiatt, a founder of the university and chairman of its board of trustees. She graduated in 1964 with a major in history, and for the rest of her life she was unwaveringly and generously supportive of Brandeis.

With her husband, Boston business leader and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whom she met and married while she was still an undergraduate, she devoted her extraordinary energy and intelligence as well as her financial resources to helping others. Mrs. Kraft was a force of nature. Hands-on involvement was the hallmark of her approach to doing good. She was as likely to be found in work clothes helping construct a playground or volunteering on a fundraising phone bank as she was in foundation boardrooms. Her leadership as the chair of the boards for Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston and as president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation produced remarkable results that benefited worthy individuals and entire communities alike. Her determination to help the causes she supported was legendary: when Myra Kraft was on the phone, no one could say no. Mrs. Kraft, who passed away in July 2011, was a trustee of Brandeis for more than a quarter century and vice chairman of the board of trustees for a decade. Through the scholarships and academic chairs she and her husband sponsored, her legacy will endure for generations to come.

Honorary Degree Citation

To know Myra Kraft, even to have met Myra Kraft, is to have a “Myra story.” She touched everyone she met, from world leaders to children in need. Myra Kraft’s caring generosity spread far and wide, through the Robert and Myra Kraft Family Foundation, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, the Boston Foundation, the Joint Distribution Committee and the United Way. She helped people around the globe, and it is a source of pride at her alma mater that her beloved Brandeis always occupied a special place in her heart. She gave generously of herself in every way: her time, her wisdom, her effort and her resources. Students were her priority, and they knew it. After her passing, messages flowed in from around the world. Everyone she touched felt a personal loss, for she did not help people from a distance. She wanted to know them, and she did, working alongside them on the playgrounds, at the phone banks and on the innumerable tasks that her approach to doing good required. She was a true daughter of Brandeis.

For her deep support, her tireless dedication, her fearlessness in the face of injustice, and for all the goodness and love she brought to the people she met, alma mater takes special pride in recognizing our Myra Kraft with our highest honor.