BNC Honors Its Recent Donors

Since the university’s founding in 1948, Brandeis National Committee donors have been an integral part of Brandeis history. Today, the BNC Tribute Wall, a focal point in the Goldfarb Library, stands as a monument to this commitment, displaying the names of BNC donors throughout the decades.

On Oct. 17, more than 50 BNC leaders, donors, members and family members met outside the library’s Rapaporte Treasure Hall to recognize the contributions made by the organization’s 2017 donors and add their names to the wall.

In his remarks, Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz described the Tribute Wall as “the one wall we never want to break down.”

For Lindsay Mitnik ’16, the event sparked emotion. The name of her grandmother, Carole Gliedman Weinberg, was added to the wall, not far from what used to be a favorite study spot for Mitnik.

“If it wasn’t for my grandmother, I may have never gone to Brandeis,” she says. “It meant a lot to commemorate her impact on the place that so impacted me.”

Mitnik’s mother, Shari Gliedman-Baker, was present as well. In fact, the family’s connection to the university dates back to the 1980s, with the names of Gliedman-Baker’s grandparents, Maurice and Doris Freeman, memorialized on the wall.

The name of Shirley Pollock, G’07, who was elected to the Brandeis Board of Fellows in 2016 and died in April at age 95, was also added to the wall, as daughter Barbara Ruskin looked on with pride. Ruskin’s daughter-in-law Tobin Belzer, MA’98, PhD’04, did her graduate work at Brandeis.

When Pollock moved from Philadelphia to Los Angeles in 1977, her sister took her to a BNC meeting so she could make new friends. “BNC’s mission moved her, and Brandeis became her community,” says daughter Nancy Pollock, whose own daughter Sandha Khin ’07 studied theater at Brandeis.

“We believe this is why she lived to be 95,” adds Shirley’s youngest daughter, Terri Ann Pollock.

Every name on the Tribute Wall is more than just a name. There’s a story behind each one — a piece of BNC and Brandeis history that will continue to be honored for generations to come.

Photo of attendees at Tribute Wall celebration
Colleagues and family members celebrated the additions to the Tribute Wall. (Photo by Ashley McCabe)
Madalyn Friedberg
Madalyn Friedberg

Message From the BNC President

Last fall, Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz and I had the honor of celebrating the addition of the names of the Brandeis National Committee’s 2017 donors to the BNC Tribute Wall in the university’s Goldfarb Library. The occasion was filled with an immense sense of pride. These names, etched into the wall’s panels, join the names of visionaries dating back to the 1950s.

Moments like this reaffirm our commitment to Brandeis. As Ira Jackson, the university’s executive vice president of communications and external relations, says, the Brandeis National Committee is the “gem of the university and heart of the library.” Our mission since our founding in 1948 is very much alive and thriving.

The generous, tireless efforts of BNC chapters and leadership do not go unnoticed. There isn’t a student who walks through the library who doesn’t see and appreciate the BNC’s work.

Please enjoy reading these stories about the difference our members are making. I send my best regards and my thanks for all you do for the BNC.


Madalyn Friedberg

A Leader Is Born

Asked why she decided to join the Brandeis National Committee, Lydia Axelrod, a retired school superintendent, smiles.

In 2001, she made an offhand comment to her aunt about feeling bored. Her aunt had an idea: come along to a BNC Lunch and Learn, and meet some “smart women.” From that point on, Axelrod, who has a bachelor’s from Brooklyn College, a master’s from NYU and a doctorate in education from Columbia University, knew she had found her people.

“I come from a charitable family,” Axelrod says. “My parents taught me that life is about giving.” Since the first grade, she’d also believed that one day she’d be a leader, an aspiration probably rooted in her admiration of Eleanor Roosevelt (who coincidentally had her own ties to Brandeis).

Today, Axelrod is the BNC’s national vice president of learning opportunities and co-president of the Florida region. She also holds a seat on the organization’s Executive Committee.

Her leadership path at the BNC began when she became co-president of the Delray Beach chapter. She oversaw an effort that raised more than $125,000 in support of BNC’s Sustaining the Mind campaign. More recently, she helped organize a symposium around Brandeis faculty-authored study guides, furthering the BNC’s quest to build a broad education network, a project in line with her love of teaching.

She accomplishes her goals while pushing through physical challenges. Not long ago, after back surgery, she contracted an MRSA infection. Even that didn’t slow her down.

Axelrod says the university’s emphasis on social justice speaks to her heart and soul. “My mother encouraged getting an education and becoming a mentor,” she says. “Louis Brandeis embodied this core mission, too. It’s something I want to pass on.” Axelrod taught her three daughters — each of whom has been a BNC member — to help others. She also convinced her sisters to join the BNC.

“Lydia’s ability to communicate and strong devotion to what Brandeis has to offer makes her an incredibly compelling leader,” says BNC Executive Director Beth Bernstein, MA’90.

Photo of Lydia Axelrod and her daughters
Lydia Axelrod (second from left), with her three daughters. (Photo by David Steinberg)
Zosia Busé ’20
Zosia Busé ’20

Stepping Up When Asked to Serve

Calling Zosia Busé ’20 a busy student is understating the facts a bit. Born and raised in Shenandoah, Virginia, Busé is a double major in politics, and international and global studies. She’s also pursuing a minor in peace and coexistence studies, and another minor in social justice and social policy.

Soon after arriving on the Brandeis campus as a first-year, Busé began working in the Office of Student Rights and Advocacy, where she now serves as director. She is also a student ambassador at the admissions office, where she tells prospective students and their families about her life at Brandeis.

Little did she know that, as busy as she is, another role was still in store.

Last fall, she met Remi Miller ’19 and Jacob Abrams ’17, who asked her to become a Brandeis National Committee student ambassador. The Student Ambassadors program, established in 2007, pairs students with BNC chapters. Chapters learn more about the student experience, and students and BNC members share their mutual appreciation for all that Brandeis does.

Busé says developing connections with the Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia chapters allowed her to “hear personal anecdotes about the BNC’s passion for the many things that Brandeis accomplishes. I now understand so much more about all that makes students’ experiences possible and how important it is for us to forge relationships with Brandeis’ friends.”  

In the spring, Busé will take over as director of Student Ambassadors. And she won’t waste any time while settling in. She already has plans to meet with members of the BNC’s Executive Committee in April for a debrief on ’Deis Impact Week, a festival of events celebrating social justice, for which she is vice chair.