Robert S. Brown '88, MA'89
Robert S. Brown '88, MA'89

Six Members-at-Large Join Alumni Board

On July 1, the Alumni Association Board of Directors welcomed six new members-at-large. In addition, sitting members-at-large Ronald C. Glover ’73 and Laura M. Neiman ’97 were each re-elected to a second two-year term. To read more about all the new volunteer leaders, visit

Robert S. Brown ’88, MA’89

Brown, who graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s in economics and earned a master’s in international economics, is a senior portfolio manager at AllianceBernstein Equity Strategies. A former member of the Brandeis Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee, he serves on the boards for the READ Foundation and the Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Brown was a member of his 10th Reunion committee and serves as co-chair of the Wall Street/Finance Network of the Alumni Club of New York City. He lives in New York City with his wife, Tricia, and their daughter.

Tara Cook-Littman ’97

Cook-Littman founded GMO Free CT, which successfully advocated in Connecticut for passage of the first-in-the-nation genetically modified organism food-labeling law. A former New York City prosecutor, she is running for state representative in Connecticut. Cook-Littman received a bachelor’s in American studies, and minored in journalism and in women’s and gender studies. She served as co-chair of her 15th Reunion committee and was recently a panelist at the SoJust Leadership Forum. She lives in Fairfield, Conn., with her husband, Owen Littman, and their three children.

William S. Gorin ’80

Gorin is the CEO of MFA Financial. During his 17-year tenure with the firm, he has served as president, chief financial officer and treasurer. Gorin has also worked at Paine Webber/Kidder Peabody & Co. and at Shearson Lehman Hutton/E.F. Hutton. After graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in economics, he earned an MBA from Stanford. He has served on his Reunion committees and recently hosted an event at his home with President Frederick Lawrence. Gorin lives in New York City with his wife, Jody, and their two children.

Joseph J. Kekst ’05

Kekst is a private investor who, prior to becoming a member-at-large, served as a presidential appointee on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and as co-chair of the Emerging Leaders Network in New York City. Kekst graduated with a bachelor’s in politics and a minor in philosophy. He and his wife, Dana Sara (Winik) Kekst ’05, live in New York City.

Steven H. Levine ’90

Levine is a principal at the Brattle Group, which provides consulting services in environmental matters, finance and other areas. He earned a bachelor’s in economics, and went on to receive an MBA from Columbia in 1995. He is a member of the board of directors of Congregation Beth Elohim as well as its financial secretary. As a Brandeis student, Levine worked in the Office of Student Life and helped coordinate Parents Weekend ’88, Orientation ’89 and Senior Week ’90. Since graduation, he has helped organize his class Reunions. He lives in Acton, Mass., with his wife, Sara Pollak Levine ’92, and their two children.

Adam R. Zirkin ’01

Zirkin is a partner at Knighthead Capital Management, and previously served as vice president and director of investments at Harbinger Capital Partners. He was a student representative to the Brandeis Board of Trustees and a debate-team standout before graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s in biochemistry. As an alumnus, Zirkin has provided career advice to many Brandeis students and supported the Golf and Tennis Outing. He co-chaired his 10th Reunion committee with his wife, Samantha Zirkin ’01. They live in New York City with their three children.

Adam J. Rifkin ’97
Adam J. Rifkin ’97

Expect the Best

When I address the newest members of our Alumni Association each year at Commencement, I enjoy reliving all the pomp and circumstance of graduation, and seeing the excitement in their eyes and the pride on their parents’ faces. It is a privilege to welcome new graduates into a new phase of their lifelong relationship with Brandeis. Like us, they arrived on campus with great expectations, hopes and dreams, and left with a first-class education that will launch them into successful endeavors. If Brandeis taught us anything, it was to expect great things.

Over the past months, the Alumni Association has continued to flourish. Last year, we set some lofty goals, including expansion of our event offerings (both at Reunion and beyond) and broader outreach efforts to engage Brandeisians from around the world.

Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, we have exceeded our own expectations. Reunion 2014 was another smashing success. More than 1,200 people attended the three-day event, which featured new activities (Dinners by the Decades, for instance) and old favorites (Alumni College and the Ralph Norman Barbecue).

Other events brought alumni together in places far beyond the borders of campus, from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the U.S. Supreme Court. Through the vision and efforts of the newly formed International Alumni Council, alumni living abroad enjoyed events in Ghana, Stockholm, London, China, Brazil, Singapore, South Korea, Israel, Toronto, Colombia, Istanbul, Berlin, Panama and Paris.

You can expect this pace of activity to continue. In September, President Frederick Lawrence will welcome area alumni to an event at the Arts Club of Chicago, organized by Laura Neiman ’97. In October, former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman will address alumni from the two most-recent decades at the Park Cafe-Time Warner Center in New York City; the event is supported by the Richman Family Foundation and the family of Michael Saivetz ’97.

As always, these events would not have been possible without the help of our alumni leaders. I am pleased to welcome six new members-at-large to the Alumni Association Board of Directors. They will join nearly 50 other volunteers who help us deliver meaningful programs and events that keep the Brandeis connection among all alumni strong.

I am very grateful for all that they, and you, do for our alma mater. But then, I would expect nothing less.


Adam J. Rifkin ’97
President, Brandeis Alumni Association

East Meets West

Patsy Fisher (left), vice president for university and alumni relations, welcomes Amy Cohen ’85, president of the Alumni Club of Southern California, and her husband, Sidney Levinson ’85, to a reception and private tour of the “John Altoon” exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Organized by the Rose Art Museum and Carol S. Eliel, curator of modern art at LACMA, the display of 70 paintings and drawings is the first major retrospective of Altoon’s work. More than 150 alumni and friends from Southern California enjoyed the tour and a talk by Chris Bedford, the Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose. The exhibition will be on view at the Rose from Oct. 8-Dec. 21.

Say “Brandeis”: Members of the Class of 2009 pose for a photo.
Say “Brandeis”: Members of the Class of 2009 pose for a photo.

Reunion 2014

The Brandeis campus was awash in sunshine and smiling faces as more than 1,200 alumni and their guests celebrated Reunion 2014.

Several new activities were introduced this year, including Dinner by the Decades; an expanded Fire and ’Deis Gala on Saturday night; and a private screening of the critically acclaimed documentary “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power,” featuring Anita Hill, special adviser to the provost and professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis. Young alumni enjoyed Kegs and Kickball, and alumni with young children were entertained at Ollie’s Family Fun.

Hundreds of alumni and friends also attended Alumni College, the Ralph Norman Barbecue and the Ice Cream Social.

The 12 Reunion classes raised more than $4 million for the university.