Dear Readers

Laura Gardner, P'12
Laura Gardner, P'12

Editor in Chief

In my office upstairs in Usdan, dozens of alumni magazines crowd my desk, from the likes of Harvard and Brown to Tulane and the University of Missouri at 
St. Louis. I can’t say that I’ve read all of them, or any of them, from cover to cover. But the best of the publications — and there are some fine ones — irresistibly lure me in through well-told, arrestingly illustrated stories about alumni, ideas and scholarship, faculty and students, even though I haven’t a sliver of connection to the university or college.

This is my goal for Brandeis Magazine: to engage all curious readers, at least on some pages, in some stories or in some articles. I want to come by our features honestly, and to develop stories that stand on their own merit in narrative and relevance, whether they make you chuckle, fume, nod your head in agreement or just come along for a good read.

Occasionally, alumni publications can be prone to excessive boosterism, and it takes both sensitivity and steadfastness to navigate the shoals of sometimes conflicting interests within the sponsoring institution. I hope Brandeis Magazine will help strengthen your connection to the university; I think the only way to make this happen is through strong reporting and writing on topics that actually interest you. Sure, go to Class Notes first and catch up on the latest exploits of old friends and rivals. Nearby you’ll find alumni notes and development news. But then check out the feature well, our departments and our bookending essays — if we’ve succeeded, there will be something that won’t let you go.

Perhaps you’ll be interested in President Fred Lawrence’s first-person account of his journey to Brandeis by way of a loving family, the law, teaching and academic administration. Wall Street Journal special writer Greg Zuckerman ’88 relates an entirely different journey in a story about how Lorin Reisner ’83 and Kenneth Lench ’84 masterminded the SEC’s legal case against Wall Street colossus Goldman Sachs at the flashpoint of the mortgage meltdown. More recent alums make their stands in a feature about contemporary comedy (and the influence of Brandeisians on it), and in the remarkable tale of Tessa Venell ’08, a determined young woman who built a new life from the ruins of a traumatic brain injury.

Here you’ll find a web-only backstage account of last fall’s production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” Photographer Mike Lovett has richly illustrated Theresa Pease’s story with stunning images from early rehearsals, costuming and scene-building activities, through the production’s performance in late November.

A robust exchange of ideas and opinions in reader letters is the sine qua non of any good magazine, it seems to me. So please, bring them on! We spend months developing, reporting and polishing every squib and story you find between these covers; we do want to know what you think, and why.