70 Years Ago Today, Brandeis Held Its First Day of Classes
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the very first day of classes at Brandeis. Upon his induction as the first President of Brandeis University (excerpted below), Abram Sachar speaks of the founding principles of the new university. He describes the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in this country and in this university.
“[T]his will be an institution where opportunity is offered to all, regardless of race or creed or color. Neither student body nor faculty must ever be chosen on the basis of population proportions or genetic or ethnic or economic distribution. Choices that are set up by such arbitrary categories are based on the assumption that there are standard population strains, on the belief that the ideal American must look and act like an eighteenth century puritan, that the melting pot of America must mold all who live here into such a pattern. The truth is that America is not a melting pot at all; it is a symphony. The precious groups that have come to these shores must not disappear into an assimilative cauldron; they must retain their uniqueness which has come out of their special heritage. They must play in harmony with all the rest, else there is a dreadful cacophony. But playing in harmony, the very diversity of instrumentation adds richness and profundity to the symphonic effect.
An institution which is built on such principles — on the integrity of learning and research, on the passion for service, on the right of equal opportunity — only such an institution will be worthy of the intellectual and spiritual mantle of Louis Dembitz Brandeis whose name it is to bear.”