Brandeis begins 2011 with new President; Fred Lawrence says job is a calling

Lawrence, a leading expert on civil rights law and free speech, already is a prominent figure on campus.

Photo/Mike Lovett

President Frederick M. Lawrence

A new year and a new era began at Brandeis on Jan. 1, 2011 when Frederick M. Lawrence, a leading expert on civil rights and free speech, took office as the university's eighth president. He succeeds Jehuda Reinharz, who was president for 16 ½ years.

Lawrence, 55, who most recently was dean of George Washington University
 Law School, has become a prominent figure on campus since his selection in July thanks to his frequent visits and his deep engagement with students, faculty and staff during the presidential transition.

“His commitment to frank and open communication has helped build the strong sense of optimism and hopeful anticipation that pervades the Brandeis community at the beginning of this New Year,” said Prof. Timothy Hickey, chair of the Faculty Senate.

Student Union President Daniel Acheampong Jr. ’11, said he has noticed President Lawrence’s “great passion for students and the institution” during his “seamless transition into the Brandeis community and culture” throughout the fall term. “

“The president’s work ethic, his vision for Brandeis, his commitment to social justice and his ability to connect with people make him a great fit,” added Acheampong.

Lawrence has spoken often of the resonance Brandeis holds for him. “I am deeply honored to be chosen as the eighth president of this awe-inspiring community of learning and social commitment,” Lawrence said upon his selection. “The opportunity to lead Brandeis is not merely a professional appointment. It is a calling.”

In a New Year’s email to the Brandeis community, Lawrence wrote that “there is much to do in the years ahead, and I look forward to all the challenges that await us. With your support, I know this will be a time of great achievement for Brandeis.” Lawrence also launched his new blog, Brandeis First, which will be a regular feature on his web page.

Board of Trustees Chairman Malcolm L. Sherman called Lawrence “a proven leader who could inspire the entire Brandeis community.”

A graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School, Lawrence is married to Kathy Lawrence, an academic who specializes in 19th-century American literature. They have two adult children, Miriam and Noah.

To find out more about President Fred Lawrence, visit the Office of the President website.

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