A History of Brandeis University
Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community at a time when Jews and other ethnic and racial minorities, and women, faced discrimination in higher education.
Brandeis’ visionary founders established a nonsectarian research university that welcomed talented faculty and students of all backgrounds and beliefs. From the outset, Brandeis focused on undergraduate education while building a pioneering research enterprise.
The university was named for Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941), the first Jewish justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. One of the greatest minds to serve on the high court, Justice Brandeis made an indelible mark on modern jurisprudence by shaping free speech, the right to privacy, and the rights of ordinary citizens. He exemplified the values of the new university through his dedication to open inquiry and the pursuit of truth, insistence on critical thinking, and his commitment to helping the common person.
Brandeis University opened on the site of the former Middlesex University in Waltham, Massachusetts, with 107 students and 13 faculty members. Under the leadership of founding president Abram L. Sachar, Brandeis grew quickly in size and scholarly influence, joining the ranks of the most respected research institutions while still very young.
Since its early days, Brandeis has been a top-tier university with global reach, attracting students and faculty from around the world to pursue learning and scholarship at the highest levels. With a culture of mentorship and rigorous intellectual standards, Brandeis fosters inclusion and a commitment to improving the world. Ours is a community rooted in purpose, guided by our founding values, and poised to lead in education and research in the 21st century.