Portrait of Anita Hill standing in long hallway.
Anita Hill

In March, Time magazine chose Anita Hill, University Professor of Social Policy; Law; and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, as one of its 100 Women of the Year. The list, inspired by Time’s annual Person of the Year selection, recognized the most influential women of each year from 1920-2019. Hill was named for 1991, the year she, in testimony before the U.S. Congress, accused then Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Other Brandeisians making the list were activist Angela Davis ’65 (for the year 1971) and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, H’54, one of the university’s founding trustees (for the year 1948).

The efforts of Soroush Kazemi, Heller MA’21, are featured in the film “Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl),” which won the 2020 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. The documentary centers on Skateistan-Kabul, a nonprofit Kazemi directed from 2016-19 (all the filming took place during his tenure). The group uses skateboarding as a hook to get impoverished Afghan girls and boys who are not enrolled in the public schools into education programs and leadership activities. Skateistan currently works with 700 children a week in Kabul. After Kazemi earns his master’s in conflict resolution and coexistence at Heller, he plans to take his new skills back to the organization, to extend its impact.

Deborah E. Lipstadt, MA’72, PhD’76, H’19, won a 2019 National Jewish Book Award in the Education and Jewish Identity category for her book “Antisemitism: Here and Now” (Schocken, 2019). “Touched With Fire: Morris B. Abram and the Battle Against Racial and Religious Discrimination” (Potomac Books, 2019), by David E. Lowe ’72, P’10, took the top award in the Biography category (Abram served as Brandeis University’s second president).

“The School of Eternities,” a poem by Chen Chen, the Jacob Ziskind Visiting Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis, was published in the Spring 2020 issue of the literary journal Ploughshares. Last year, Chen Chen earned a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2017 he was longlisted for a National Book Award for Poetry.

Jon Landau ’68, H’19, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of its Class of 2020, receiving the Ahmet Ertegun Award, which recognizes industry professionals who have had a major influence on rock ’n’ roll. The longtime co-producer and manager of Bruce Springsteen, Landau started his career by working as a rock journalist while still a Brandeis undergraduate.

John-Andrew Morrison ’95 won a 2020 Lucille Lortel Award in the Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical category (sharing the honor with another actor in a tie). Morrison earned the nod for his performance in “A Strange Loop” at Playwrights Horizons, in Manhattan. The Lortel Awards recognize outstanding achievement in off-Broadway theater.

Amy Merrill ’69 has been selected as one of eight playwrights who will develop new work through Boston’s Company One Theatre, a performing-arts theater company that seeks to build community at the intersection of art and social change.

On March 3, visual artist Fred Wilson accepted Brandeis’ biennial Creative Arts Award in a presentation at the Wasserman Cinematheque, delivering a lecture about his artistic path and taking questions from the audience. He also spent several intensive days on campus, visiting art-history and studio-art classes, and talking with students and faculty. The 1999 MacArthur “genius” grant recipient creates art that challenges assumptions of history, culture and race, and conventions of display. At the award presentation, Dorothy Hodgson, dean of arts and sciences, said Wilson’s “pathbreaking work combines everything Brandeis aspires to be and become.”