Alumni Association President Allen Alter '71 hosts Gloria Vanderbilt at Brandeis House.
Alumni Association President Allen Alter '71 hosts Gloria Vanderbilt at Brandeis House.

Gloria Vanderbilt Heads Home to Brandeis House

It was Alumni Association President Allen Alter ’71, veteran journalist and senior producer at CBS News, who discovered the link between socialite designer Gloria Vanderbilt and Brandeis. He knew that the East Side building given to Brandeis by the Spingold family had once been owned by the Vanderbilts, but he wanted to learn more about the connection.

Visiting the archives at Brandeis’ Goldfarb Library, Alter found a photo album titled “Twelve East Seventy-Seventh Street” with the initials RCV on the front cover. After a stop at the Department of Buildings in New York, he confirmed that RCV was Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, Gloria’s father, and that he had owned the building in the 1920s.

“I wrote a letter to Gloria Vanderbilt on Brandeis stationery and asked, ‘Did you know that Brandeis House was once where your parents lived?’” Alter recalls. “I heard back the next day. She was tickled pink and couldn’t wait to come visit.”

Vanderbilt visited late last fall, stepping into the home where she lived for about a year after her birth in February 1924. Her father had proposed to her mother, Gloria Morgan, in the home’s “club room” (now the alumni business center). Brandeis presented her an album chronicling the recent history of the building.

“She hadn’t been back since she was a baby and was delighted,” Alter says. “As she perused photos of horse trophies her family’s thoroughbreds had won, she said, ‘Oh, Anderson (her son Anderson Cooper, CNN newsman) has those in his apartment.’”

The home is prominently mentioned in the first chapter of Vanderbilt’s biography and the book mentions that 12 East 77th Street now houses the university’s New York alumni headquarters.

Reunion 2011 Opens With New “Fire & ’Deis” Party

Old friends share a laugh and a handshake on the Great Lawn during a recent Reunion barbecue.
Reunion 2011 kicks off on Friday, June 10, with Alumni College (see page 89), “Re-Orientation” and a brand new welcome back party titled “Fire & ’Deis,” featuring a tapas-style dinner under the stars on the great lawn.

The Brandeis campus is at its best in the spring, and the weekend promises a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, revisit the Castle and other Brandeis landmarks, and enjoy the university’s many new programs and facilities.

Saturday will be jam-packed, starting off with a talk by Gary David Goldberg ’66 Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning TV and film writer whose credits include “Family Ties,” “Lou Grant” and “M*A*S*H*.” The day will also include a conversation with President Fred Lawrence, the always-popular Ralph Norman barbecue, class photos, an ice cream social at the castle, an admissions open house, campus tours, a Hiatt Career Center open house and class dinners.

“Alumni should come prepared to have fun,” says Elisa Gassel ’01, who directs the Reunion programs and will be celebrating her own 10th Reunion this spring. “Definitely pack your dancing shoes for Friday night!”

For more information, visit
Meridith Apfelbaum, assistant director for  alumni career services, has conducted more  than 600 counseling sessions in the past year.
Meridith Apfelbaum, assistant director for alumni career services, has conducted more than 600 counseling sessions in the past year.

Working Together in a Slow Job Market

Alumni have tapped the career services and opportunities offered by the Hiatt Career Center in record numbers this past year. Nearly 600 graduates have had career counseling appointments in person, over the phone or via Skype. More than 400 alumni have attended events and online webinar programs. Thanks in large part to networking on B Connect and LinkedIn, a record 1,300 alumni have served as career mentors or panelists, or participated in career fairs or job development events.

According to Hiatt Career Center Dean Joseph Du Pont, the outlook for 2011 is even more ambitious. “We will be taking some of our most successful programs on the road this year,” says Du Pont, noting that the Hiatt Career Center continues to partner with Alumni Relations to look for ways to further expand services for alumni. More online career webinars, career fairs and presentations are being planned on campus and in cities across the country.

We recently sat down with Meridith Apfelbaum, assistant director of career development for alumni career services, to find out what is most on the minds of alumni seeking career services.
What are the top three career concerns alumni express?
That’s easy. They ask, “How do I market my skills and expertise for a variety of positions to ensure I will be viewed as an asset?” “Where can I find alumni and industry contacts with whom to network?” “How do I figure out what my next career should be?”

What are the most popular services Hiatt Career Center offers?

Career-related webinars, regional club programs and events, and one-on-one career counseling. Our sessions and programs cover career exploration and decision-making, changing careers, graduate school, job-search strategies, resume and cover-letter critiques, interview and networking preparation, negotiating salaries and others terms of employment, and re-entering the workforce. Alumni should visit for upcoming programs and resources.

How long does the average job search take in this market?
Right now, it can take three months to a year and beyond to secure a new position. People know intuitively that it is taking longer to find something worthwhile, so they are cleverly leveraging all of their resources, including their alma mater’s career office.

What can alumni get from Hiatt that they can’t get elsewhere?

We know Brandesians. Hiatt should be their first stop. We provide the framework, resources and action plan to help alumni get started with whatever their next career moves may be. We also connect alumni to each other, to students and to employers through B Connect and the Career Advisory Network and our LinkedIn group. Plus, we provide free on-campus career fairs, forums and panels. Hiatt is one of only a handful of college offices nationwide to offer complete career services for life, free of charge.

What is the funniest question you’ve ever been asked?

What steps can I take to run away and join the circus?

Best advice for job seekers?

Develop a strategic plan. Be willing to market your skills toward several types of positions and be persistent. If you are unemployed, keep yourself active and your skills current by volunteering or taking on contract positions. Spend less time at your computer applying for jobs and more time meeting people and establishing contacts; if you aren’t visible, you won’t be top of mind for those with the power to hire you.

What are some of the craziest things you’ve seen worn on an interview?

A man’s fluorescent orange suit with perfectly matching tie and women’s pumps three sizes too big.

Visit B Connect at and to put your Brandeis connections to work for you.