Alumni Return to Campus for Justice, BEMCo Reunions

Justice reunion Lindsay Gardner ’82, Arnie Reisman ’64 and Benjamin Freed ’06 discuss their experiences as student journalists during a panel discussion at The Justice Reunion and Media Conference.

Brandeis hosted a pair of shared-interest Reunions on campus this spring for alumni from The Justice and the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo).

Nearly three dozen former Justice editors, reporters and photographers attended the first Justice Reunion and Media Conference on April 28-29.

The Reunion allowed participants to reconnect with former colleagues, share experiences with alumni from every decade, discuss the Fourth Estate and meet today’s Justice staff. More than 50 students attended.

Organized by Justice editors with assistance from the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, the two-day event included an opening-reception welcome by Sandy Lakoff ’53, one of the newspaper’s first editors; a keynote address by investigative reporter Ted Gup ’72, formerly of The Washington Post; and panel discussions about The Justice and contemporary journalism.

Panelists included David Zimmerman ’55, Arnie Reisman ’64, Lindsay Gardner ’82, Dana Coffield ’86, Jeffrey Greenbaum ’90, Alex Goldstein ’06, Steve Heyman ’06, Benjamin Freed ’06, Dan Hirschhorn ’06 and Jon Fischer ’07.

Earlier, on April 20, more than 150 alumni and students attended BEMCo’s 30th anniversary gala. BEMCo co-founder James Meisel ’85 delivered remarks in honor of the group’s three decades of service to the Brandeis community.

The student-run organization, which has about 50 student volunteers, provides emergency medical services through a basic life-support ambulance with state-certified emergency medical technicians. BEMCo was founded in 1983 by Doug Burd ’85, David Klyde ’84, Pam Malech ’84, Hugh Mainzer ’84 and Meisel.

BEMCo organizes reunions every five years.

Adam J. Rifkin ’97
Adam J. Rifkin ’97

Alumni Enjoy Eventful Spring

Breaking records is nothing new at Brandeis, but we outdid ourselves this spring. Among our accomplishments:

• Nearly 900 alumni — more than ever before — attended Reunion 2013. An astounding total of 200 alumni leaders served on their Reunion committees, and the 5th Reunion drew its largest crowd for the second year in a row.

• Seventy-six percent of the Class of 2013 contributed to the Senior Class Gift, the third straight year the participation rate has set a record.

• The Alumni Association Board of Directors surpassed its own giving goal, raising nearly $600,000 in fiscal year 2013.

Clearly, the efforts of President Frederick Lawrence, his senior administration, alumni volunteers and staff are paying off. Alumni are more eager to connect with Brandeis and one another in meaningful ways to shape the future success of their alma mater.

As promised, we have begun building alumni communities among our affinity groups, providing opportunities for alumni to get together with fellow Brandeisians who share their interests and experiences. Both the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) and The Justice held Reunions in the spring. Alumni of color held their second annual welcome reception at Reunion 2013. Each of these events drew large crowds of alumni who were happily re-engaging with the Brandeis community for the first time in many years.

In May, we launched the new Alumni and Friends website to rave reviews. Now alumni can easily find events in their area and online, keep abreast of campus news, learn about benefits and services provided by the Alumni Association, and manage their Brandeis connections through their individual B Connect profile. Most important, alumni can now discover how to stay tied to Brandeis through a range of activities and involvement opportunities.

We could not do any of this without the support of alumni leaders. Profiles of the five new members-at-large on the Alumni Association Board of Directors appear on the facing page. The board is composed of 53 alumni leaders who represent a variety of class years and come from all over the world.

I encourage you to reach out to them to find out how you can get more involved. We have made great strides in engaging our graduates and look forward to continuing to build a robust, active Brandeis alumni community.

Adam J. Rifkin ’97
President, Brandeis Alumni Association

Five Join Alumni Association Board

As of July 1, the Alumni Association Board of Directors has a new look. Five new members-at-large have been welcomed to the board, and Douglas Affinito ’80 and Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16, were elected vice presidents. All are serving two-year terms. Several recent board members now serve on the Board of Trustees.


Michael Gerstein ’96

Michael is chief director of Flagship Merchant Services, a leading payment-transaction firm he co-founded. He majored in comparative politics at Brandeis and graduated from DePaul University College of Law. Michael and fellow soccer captain Brad Akers ’95, president of the Alumni Club of Chicago, led the successful fundraising campaign to install new athletic bleachers at Brandeis. Michael has also established an endowed scholarship, hired alumni to work at his company and created a community-service award program for students. He and his wife, Sharon, have two children and live in Sudbury, Mass.

Fondest memory: “Winning the ECAC soccer championship.”


Talee Zur Potter ’97

Talee is assistant general counsel at JPMorgan Chase, where she specializes in employment law and social media governance. She majored in history and American studies at Brandeis and graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. Talee served on her 10th Reunion committee, is a member of the Alumni Admissions Council and is active in several alumni networks. She and her husband, Harvey ’95, have two children and live in New York City.

Lasting impact: “Brandeis cultivated my intellectual curiosity, and introduced me to my husband and a community of friends.”


Janna Rosenberg ’02

Janna is an associate at Rosenberg & Estis in New York City, specializing in residential and commercial real estate. She majored in history at Brandeis and earned her JD from Brooklyn Law School, where she was a founding member of the Street Law Project and was active in the Community Development Clinic. She served as co-chair of her 5th Reunion committee and interviews prospective students as a member of the Alumni Admissions Council. Janna and husband Michael Berger ’02, who works in career development at New York University, have two children and live in New York.

Fondest memory: “Too many to choose! Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think back fondly on a Brandeis moment, whether it’s hanging out with friends or having breakfast with Professor Robert Reich.”


Mindy Schneider ’75

Mindy worked at NewYork-Presbyterian and Mount Sinai Hospitals in New York City for many years. She is active in many charities, including the Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, Central Synagogue in New York City and College Outreach USA. She majored in economics at Brandeis and earned her MPA from New York University. She and her family have generously supported Brandeis through the years. Mindy has served on her Reunion committees and currently sits on the Arts Council. She and her husband have two children.

Why I volunteer: “I truly enjoyed my time at Brandeis — that is why I stay in touch and volunteer.”


Curtis Tearte ’73

Curtis is a senior executive in charge of IBM’s relationships with state and local government and educational institutions in Georgia. He has held senior positions in numerous divisions during his 30-plus years at IBM. Curtis graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council, and serves on the boards of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the University of Connecticut Law School Foundation and the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Proudest Brandeis moment: “Joining Paul Regan ’73 and Jose Perez ’75 to establish the Joseph D. Warren Endowed Scholarship.”

Record Crowd Enjoys Reunion 2013

Graduates from the 12 class years ending in a 3 or an 8 braved Tropical Storm Andrea to enjoy a weekend of seeing old friends, setting an all-time attendance record of 885 for Reunion 2013. (The previous record, 860, was reached in 2008.)

“We have stayed connected through social media, but nothing beats being here in person,” said Melissa Scott ’03, who traveled to campus from New York to celebrate her 10th Reunion.

As usual, the Fire and ’Deis Welcome Back Party attracted a big crowd. New events added this year included the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, a student panel titled “Brandeis Today” and Ollie’s Family Fun.