In August, Steven S. Manos, credited with dramatically improving and stabilizing the finances and management of Tufts University during his 26 years as executive vice president there, was appointed senior vice president and chief operating officer at Brandeis. He oversees budgeting, administrative and financial functions, as well as the physical plant and human resources. Manos earned a BA from the University of Minnesota in 1962, a JD from New York University School of Law in 1968 and an MPA from New York University in 1974.

Irving Epstein, the Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry, has been named a 2012 Massachusetts Academy of Sciences Fellow. Fellows are chosen in recognition of their extraordinary scientific accomplishments and their service to the science community and the public. “The academy’s commitment to ‘making science tangible and exciting to everyone’ makes this award particularly meaningful for me,” says Epstein, whose research includes the study of oscillating chemical reactions, spatial pattern formation, dynamical systems and neurobiology.

Antony Polonsky, the Albert Abramson Professor of Holocaust Studies, in September was given the Pro Historia Polonorum Prize, established by the Polish Senate to honor the best recent Polish history written in a foreign language. Polonsky received the award for his three-volume monograph, “The Jews in Poland and Russia,” a comprehensive political, social, economic and religious survey of the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe from 1350 to the present. “It’s interesting that [the award committee] regarded a book on the history of Jews in Russia as a book on Polish history,” Polonsky says. “It shows how much the country has changed. It reflects a broad concept of Polishness, which includes Jews.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Brandeis a $175,000 grant for a yearlong John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Culture, which will bring Brandeis faculty and graduate students together with scholars from other Boston-area institutions to consider the entangled histories and enduring effects of the American (1775-83), French (1789-99) and Haitian (1791-1804) revolutions. The seminar was conceived and will be led by Jane Kamensky, the Harry S. Truman Professor of American Civilization, and Susan S. Lanser, professor of English, women’s and gender studies, and comparative literature. It’s the first time Brandeis has received funding from the Mellon Foundation to organize a Sawyer Seminar. Competition for the grant is open by invitation only to select universities and colleges.