Brandeis Strong

Photo of Ronald Liebowitz, who is leaning back in a chair and smiling.
Mike Lovett
President Ronald D. Liebowitz

As I look back on the fall 2022 semester, I am — and will always be — grateful for the strength and resilience of our community.

Our academic year began with a return to many in-person activities and gatherings, abuzz with an energy we had not seen for more than two years. We welcomed the largest first-year class ever, nearly 1,000 students, full of enthusiasm for engaging in our intellectual community, and for participating in our social and extracurricular programs.

Right before Thanksgiving, we experienced something very different, something that shook us to our core — a fatal shuttle bus accident. This is a profound loss for all of us in this tightknit community. Our hearts go out to those suffering both physically and emotionally.

Everyone experiences grief in a different way and on a different timeline. We encourage everyone, especially our students, to seek assistance and not ignore or suppress their emotions. We are committed to providing support on an ongoing basis.

In the wake of the accident, we saw the best of Brandeis. Students, faculty, and staff came together to comfort and assist one another. We continue to marvel at and give great thanks to the first responders — the Brandeis Department of Public Safety, the Waltham Police Department, and the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps — as well as to our dedicated Student Affairs team and members of so many departments across campus, who worked around-the-clock to care for and provide critical information to our students and the greater university community.

There was also an outpouring of support from our trustees; alumni; families of students; and leaders at other institutions of higher education, both locally and throughout the country. So many offered their homes to families whose students were injured and who needed to travel to Waltham. Several institutions offered their counselors to augment the support our own counseling center could provide. So many individuals affiliated and unaffiliated with Brandeis continue to ask us how they can help as we continue to navigate challenges.

The reaction to the accident reflects the character of our community. We often talk about how repairing the world is a foundational value of our university. What we saw and experienced just before Thanksgiving shows the extent to which this value endures. In a world that is so polarized, our community’s reaction to the recent tragedy is evidence that groups can and do bridge deep divisions. The bridges we forge will serve as a model for other communities, just as Brandeis served as a model for higher education when it was founded in 1948.

Best regards,

Ronald D. Liebowitz