Ebullient 2022 grads.
Ebullient 2022 grads.

Ending the Year With In-Person Smiles and High-Fives

For the first time in three years, Brandeisians from around the globe gathered in person for Commencement — actually, two Commencements that celebrated three different classes — and a festive Alumni Weekend.

On May 22, the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center was bustling as the Class of 2022 received their diplomas and heard an uplifting keynote speech by former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, H’17.

Later that day, the Classes of 2020 and 2021 commemorated their time at Brandeis at an event dubbed [Re]Commencement. “Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman ’78, H’20, one of four 2020 honorary-degree recipients, delivered a rousing address.

President Ron Liebowitz, who spoke at both Commencement and [Re]Commencement, assured the graduates that, having persevered during these challenging pandemic years, they will go on to “find ways to tackle many problems of our time.”

From June 10-12, campus once again came alive, this time with alumni of all ages, for the first in-person Alumni Weekend since 2019. Revelers gathered at Trucks and Tunes, Kegs and Kickball, the Ralph Norman Barbeque, Ollie’s Family Fun, an ice cream social and the Fire & ’Deis Gala. Other events included a shared-interest group social; dinners honoring the 50th, 65th and 70th Reunions; and compelling lectures, such as a timely discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s future. The weekend concluded on Sunday with a moving memorial reflection and an elegant champagne brunch.

Kauffman captured a sentiment threaded throughout these end-of-the-academic-year events when she encouraged her listeners to “be there for each other, lift each other up, champion one another.”


Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16
Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16

That Personal Touch

It feels good to be back.

This spring, for the first time since the pandemic began, the Brandeis alumni community began gathering face-to-face — with hugs and handshakes all around — at events across the country and around the world.

Alumni sipped tea in London, hosted faculty speakers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, applauded Brandeisians appearing on Broadway, honored three classes of graduates at Commencement and enjoyed an in-person Alumni Weekend. As an attendee at many of these events, I relished seeing the joy on your faces as you reconnected with one another. Every event was a reunion.

One such occasion deserves special mention. I was honored to meet and collaborate with the Class of 1952, Brandeis’ pioneering alumni, as they prepared for their 70th Reunion this June. We all owe this class, whom Brandeis presented with an Alumni Achievement Award 10 years ago, a great deal of gratitude for paving the way for the classes that followed. The surviving Class of 1952 members, now well into their 90s, have been proud and passionate ambassadors for Brandeis since they first walked onto campus in 1948.

This year during Alumni Weekend, a photo gallery paying tribute to the Class of 1952’s milestone reunion was on display at the Shapiro Campus Center, including rarely seen photos of individual graduates receiving their diploma from President Abram Sachar. Although you can also view the photos online, seeing them in person — on the campus this class helped found — was a special thrill.

I’m looking forward to the many more times we come together to honor our alma mater’s rich history and chart its even brighter future. See you soon.

My best,

Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16
President, Brandeis Alumni Association


Photo of a horizontal line of smiling adults

Brandeis friends gathered to celebrate the bar mitzvah of Ethan Simansky, son of Harold Simansky ’88 and his wife, Linda.

Photo of a smiling man and woman in finely decorated attire

Ugandan and Nigerian cultures united when Charlotte Nalumansi, Heller MA’18, married Matthew Okoro in 2021.

Photo of groom bending down to look at woman in white veil

In November, Jennifer Roskies ’80 married Reuben Koolyk, surrounded by children, grandchildren and friends.

Photo of four women and a man posing with a blue Brandeis pennant

Stacy Sarna ’90 married Darin Zenov ’88 in Miami in December, a new chapter for a couple who met at Brandeis in 1987, lost touch for years and reconnected later in life.

Photo of two women posing with a woman in spangled pants and top

In February, Alyssa Bondy ’09 married Christian Crowley, with three Brandeis bridesmaids by her side and Brandeis friends in attendance.

Photo of a bride and groom flanked on either side by long line of men and women

Rebecca Schulz ’16 and David Gabay tied the knot in November in the presence of many Brandeis friends.