Diony Elias ’04 and Ken Kaiserman ’60
Diony Elias ’04 and Ken Kaiserman ’60

A Kindred Spirit

I first met Ken Kaiserman ’60 at a New York event for alumni working in the real estate industry. I was a novice developer on the cusp of making significant investments. He was a panelist at the event.

I vividly remember approaching him as the discussion ended to talk more about his investment strategy: buy and hold. I was so nervous about introducing myself that I wrote what I planned to say on a piece of paper. He must have admired my chutzpah because we traded business cards and scheduled the first of many meetings that would eventually lead to a lasting friendship.

When I later moved from New York to Philadelphia, where Ken lived, he became my mentor. We tended to talk about four topics: real estate, art, travel and Brandeis. Visiting his office was the highlight of my week. Imagine having your favorite professor teach all your favorite subjects in the span of an hour.

Ken used real estate as a platform to help me decide what I wanted to do in business and in life. When I presented him with a proposal for a five-unit development, he challenged me by asking, “Why not 10 units? You need to think bigger.” It was a lesson I will never forget.

Art thrilled Ken’s spirit, and he kindled my interest in the subject. His fascination with great masters like Vermeer, Cézanne and de Kooning was contagious. The first time I visited his home, he nonchalantly yet enthusiastically introduced me to his art collection, the highlight of which was a spectacular Picasso. Since that visit, I’ve explored numerous museums and galleries around the world, read art books and commissioned artists — all in the hope of matching his zeal for art.

Ken loved to travel. One of the funniest and most memorable conversations we had centered on our favorite Paris arrondissements. He loved the Marais; I preferred Montmartre. He thought the Marais was pleasantly charming, and I thought Montmartre was artistically hip. I teased him about our age difference but conceded that he was young at heart and might even beat me in a footrace.

We were both very fond of our alma mater. As a longtime trustee, Ken was passionate about giving back to the university and urged me to support Brandeis as well. He was pleased when I recently became the co-president of the Alumni Club in Philadelphia. Ken would be happy to know that, at his memorial service, President Fred Lawrence was there to give me a much-needed hug that communicated both congratulation and condolence.

— Diony Elias ’04

Diony Elias is the co-founder and president of New City Investment Solutions.

Love Will Endure

Stephen Pearlman ’67 passed away on June 19.

Steve loved the IHOP in Brighton, Mass.; Valle’s on Route 9; liver and onions in Sherman; and interminable discussions and arguments about ideas. He could drive you nuts, he was entirely lovable, he was an original, and it’s impossible to imagine him at any school other than Brandeis.

Like everybody, Steve wanted to learn to play guitar, and a guy in his dorm had one. But Steve was a lefty, and although the owner generously let him borrow the guitar, he wouldn’t let him re-string it. Undeterred, Steve just taught himself to play upside down, and, man, could he play! He would painstakingly figure out a song and reproduce it to perfection. Sometimes he had a little help, like when he recorded Doc Watson’s “Black Mountain Rag” at 1 7/8 inches per second and played it back at 7 1/2. Only trouble was, he was so pleased with this trick that he told everyone how he did it. 

Steve was in a rock band, the Jelly Roll, which once opened for the Remains, and the Remains had opened for the Beatles, so opening for the Remains was a big deal.

Later, he and I became a folk music duo. We played Cholmondeley’s, Boston coffeehouses, parties. Although I’d been playing guitar for seven years, I still say he taught me everything I know. Not content with technical perfection, he made the guitar sing, made it cry, made it ring out love.

Steve was damn smart. We were in an American history course together. I always went to class; he never did. He, of course, got the higher grade. A chemistry major, he won a senior chemistry prize despite flunking a required course. He was just too good not to win.

Around 1970, Steve moved to Colorado and stayed. He lived briefly in a commune but left when they banned junk food. He worked 41 years for Denver’s Metro Wastewater Reclamation District. He leaves his wife, Nancy; their daughter, Leah; his son, DJ; his daughter, Magda; and legions of friends. He was a grandfather three times over. But to me, he was always the skinny 20-year-old who walked into my life in 1966 with his Gibson Hummingbird and blew me away.

Steve’s favorite song in our repertoire was a Patrick Sky tune called “Love Will Endure.” About now, I can think of no better sentiment.

— Ann Carol Grossman ’69

Ann Carol Grossman is a filmmaker and producer, with Arnie Reisman ’64, of “Brandeis at 50: Minds That Matter” and the PBS documentary “The Powder and the Glory.”

Art Macias Jr. ’94
Art Macias Jr. ’94

The Art of Friendship

Our good friend and Brandeis roommate Art Macias Jr. ’94 died on March 20 after a nine-month battle with lung cancer.

As many students do, we came to Brandeis with stereotypical ideas about the place, and so did not expect to meet someone with the name “Jesus Arturo Macias.” It turned out that “Art,” as we soon came to know him, defined what is great about Brandeis: the fact that it is as diverse as any school could be.

Art was one of the most outgoing, open-minded, welcoming, diligent and friendly students in the Class of 1994. Though he was genuinely gregarious in the most refreshing way (he had a light and sensitive approach), he was always an interested listener. He knew so many people at Brandeis because he was truly curious about their personal stories. Whether we were pleased about some aspect of our social life or peeved at a lower-than-expected grade, Art would adjust his conversation accordingly, showing more care and concern than anyone else we knew.

A first-generation Mexican-American from an Arizona border town, Art was perfect for Brandeis, and Brandeis was perfect for him, because he believed so strongly in creating a supportive community. Brandeis is that rare school where you can sit down next to anyone at the library or the dining hall and start an interesting, friendly conversation. Like most Brandeis students, Art never took an individualistic, competitive approach to life. 

After graduation, Art received a Rotary scholarship to study in France, earning a master’s degree in international economics from the École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales in Paris. He chose a career focused on public service, surprising no one who knew him at Brandeis, where he headed up several student organizations and was our class representative to the Board of Trustees. Art became director of Arizona’s Department of Weights and Measures, went on to lead the Arizona Lottery, and was selected by Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to be chief of staff at the Transportation Security Administration. He also served on the Goodwill of Central Arizona board of directors, was a founding board member of the Arizona Latino Research Enterprise and chaired the board of directors of the Border Trade Alliance.

Art’s passing has created a tremendous sense of loss in everyone who knew him. He always delivered the unexpected, and along the way always made people feel better about themselves. He is deeply missed.

— Rufus Davis ’94 and Dana Serman ’94

Rufus Davis is a senior consultant at Turtle Bay Capital, and Dana Serman is a portfolio manager/senior analyst at Royce & Associates. Along with Jerald Tenenbaum ’94, they are working to endow a scholarship in Art’s name at Brandeis. To contribute to the scholarship fund or for more information, contact Rachel Segaloff ’01, MA’05, MBA’05, in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, at 781-736-4024 or by email.