President Ron Liebowitz and three other people smile for the camera in front of a blue Brandeis banner.
Award recipients Michael Clements ’93, Cassidy Dadaos ’09, and Max Perlitsh ’52 with President Ron Liebowitz

Volunteer Leadership Awards Honor Alumni Who Give Back

When Max Perlitsh ’52 came to campus in September 1948 as part of Brandeis’ trailblazing first class, he helped set up the university’s system of student governance, the school newspaper, and dozens of clubs.

Perlitsh has been organizing and volunteering for Brandeis ever since. In honor of his class’s 50th Reunion in 2002, he helped inspire more than 60% of his classmates to fully endow a scholarship, which is now at $1.3 million. He and his wife, Hilda, also established a separate endowed scholarship in their names. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Perlitsh worked to keep his class connected to one another and to Brandeis, including arranging a special Zoom meetup to celebrate their 70th Reunion.

This fall, Brandeis presented Perlitsh with the Service to the Alumni Association Award during the university’s inaugural Volunteer Leadership Awards ceremony. The award recognizes a graduate whose diligence and dedication have had a lasting positive impact on the Alumni Association and the university.

“I feel profound gratitude for this honor,” says Perlitsh. “The recognition is a reflection of the commitment of the entire Class of 1952 and the feeling of responsibility we all had during those early years on campus. We wanted to show the academic world what our education gave us, as well as the budding Brandeis spirit of giving back.”

“Every Brandeis class has an alum or alums who are the glue that holds the class together,” says Alumni Association president Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16, who called Perlitsh on his 93rd birthday to notify him of his award. “Max is that person for the Class of 1952, the pioneer alumni of Brandeis. It is an honor to know and work with him.”

The first Emerging Leadership Award was also presented during the ceremony. The award — which recognizes a graduate with less than 10 years of cumulative service to Brandeis, whose leadership, hard work, and commitment have made a positive impact on the university — went to Cassidy Dadaos ’09, a two-year captain of the Brandeis women’s basketball program, who helped lead the team to four consecutive NCAA DIII Tournament appearances. Dadaos was also a member of Brandeis’ student-athlete partnership with the NCAA and the university’s American Cancer Society chapter.

Since graduation, Dadaos, now director of partnerships at the online-learning company Coursera, has supported many aspects of the university, including women’s basketball, Friends of Brandeis Athletics, the alumni-student athlete mentor program, Homecoming Weekend networking events, and Giving DEISday.

“I am deeply appreciative of this recognition,” Dadaos says. “The university makes it easy for me to want to give back. I feel so lucky to have had access to incredible faculty, to have competed at a high level with Brandeis women’s basketball, and to have built my East Coast family through the university and athletics.”

This year’s Volunteer Excellence Award went to Michael Clements ’93. A co-founder of the university’s Intercultural Center as a student, Clements as an alumnus continues to ensure the ICC is poised to support students of color.

Lastly, the 2021 and 2022 BOLD 9 awardees — young alumni who are already changing the world, in less than 10 years since graduating from Brandeis — were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements.

“Brandeis’ early efforts proved successful, and members of each subsequent class have made their own unique contributions,” Perlitsh says. “The campus that was ‘without form and void’ in the beginning is today a campus of great substance — a beautiful and bright beacon of light.”

— Anne Lawrence Guyon

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

Marking the Journey

I’m the type of person who loves seeing the odometer in my Jeep roll to the next “special” number. I watched with anticipation as 9,999 miles ticked over to 10,000. I pulled to the side of the road to take a photo at 12,345 and 88,888.

Maybe it’s the short-lived math major in me — or the quest my wife, Denise ’84, P’16, and I are on to visit all 63 U.S. national parks (we’re at 59 now) — but reaching that next milestone excites me. I like looking ahead while knowing where I’ve been. Milestones show us how long we’ve been traveling and where we are on our journey. The path forward is up to us.

In 2023, Brandeis will celebrate a major milestone, its 75th anniversary. As alumni, each of us has been a part of this journey: A hundred students were there when the university opened its doors in 1948; many hundreds have joined each year along the way; and Brandeis’ largest class ever, the Class of 2026, came on board this fall. How would you describe your role in Brandeis’ history? And how do you hope to be involved in Brandeis’ future?

Seven alumni recently joined our Alumni Association board of directors, deepening their relationship with their alma mater by taking on a leadership role. I welcome them and thank them for all they have done, and will do, for Brandeis: Steven Greenfield ’79; Gary “Sundance” Clay ’80 (read more about him on page 59); Michael Kivort ’87; Adam M. Greenwald ’98; Yuki Hasegawa ’09, IBS MA’10; Alexandra Kriss ’11; and Thabang Siyabonga KaMatona ’24. Our board membership not only reflects the diversity of our alumni base, it represents Brandeisians’ experiences throughout the decades — members’ class years range from 1962 to 2024.

Brandeis is well into planning its 75th celebrations, which will take place on campus, in a city near you, and online. Take part when and where you can. I promise it will be an experience to remember, just as it was for those who rang in the 25th in 1973 and the 50th in 1998. I look forward to celebrating with you.

Needless to say, as the Brandeis journey continues, I’ll be watching those ’Deis numbers roll.

My best,

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

A vintage photo of four students sitting outside the Castle; a blue monotint has been applied to the photo.

A Celebration 75 Years in the Making

The university will commemorate the 75th anniversary of its 1948 founding with an on-campus jubilee for the ages: a weekend featuring special performances, athletic events, academic symposia, and other meaningful opportunities for you to enjoy everything you love most about Brandeis.

For alumni whose class years end in 3 or 8, you and your classmates will have the unique opportunity to mark your milestone class reunion during this landmark event.

Curious to know more? Discover how the university will bring the best of Alumni Weekend and class reunions into its anniversary celebration — and how you can become part of the planning — at

Beyond the on-campus celebration, you’ll have many other ways to get in on the anniversary action, from regional events in a city near you, to digital trips down memory lane, to a global social-impact challenge. Thanks to the hundreds of fantastic suggestions received from Brandeis community members, there will be no shortage of fun ways to participate.

Save the date! Join us Oct. 13-15, 2023, to recognize Brandeis’ bold history and bright future.


A large group of people pose for the camera behind a Brandeis banner.

More than 50 Brandeis graduates — from the 1970s to the 2010s — celebrated the wedding of Julie Bauer ’14 and Gabi Scheinthal ’16 in Newton, Massachusetts.

Two men in straw boaters and patterned suit and tie smile for the camera.

In March, Steve Saklad ’78 (right) and his husband, Paul Hartman (left), marked 30 years together with a 1920s-themed party in New Orleans. 

A bride holding a Brandeis pennant kisses a groom while surrounded by many cheering people.

In August, Sneha Walia ’15, GSAS MAT’16, married Brad Burns ’15, GSAS MAT’16, surrounded by their Brandeis family. 

A bride and groom holding a Brandeis pennant are surrounded by smiling wedding guests.

Hannah Katcoff ’12 married Ari Goldberg-Strassler in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, in March.