Trustee Alex Barkas '68 dies unexpectedly at 64

He was a leading supporter of the sciences, the business school and the Rose

Alex Barkas and his wife, Lynda Wijcik

Brandeis Trustee Alex Barkas ’68 of Los Gatos, Calif., a prominent life sciences venture capitalist who gave generously of both of his time and resources in support of his alma mater, died unexpectedly on Nov. 21. He was 64.

At the time of his death, Barkas served as a managing director at Prospect Venture Partners. He joined the firm in 1997 after leaving Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Barkas joined the Brandeis Board of Trustees in 2001. He was reelected in May 2006 and again in May 2010. He played a major role in the formation of the university’s Office of Technology Licensing.

"This is just devastating for his family, his friends and colleagues, and for this university. Brandeis has lost a cherished friend," said President Fred Lawrence. "Alex's impact was felt across the university, from the sciences to the Rose Art Museum to IBS (International Business School). He really had a vision of what Brandeis could become and he was generous in sharing that vision."

"Alex was a man of great character and sensibility and he was widely respected by those he served with on the board,” said Malcolm Sherman, the chair of the board. “He had great values and spoke of them, and that inspired all of us."

Beginning in 2000, Barkas served as chair of the Brandeis University Science Advisory Council (BUSAC), which advocates internally and externally to sustain and grow the sciences at Brandeis.

"As chair of BUSAC, Alex was instrumental in catalyzing the establishment of the university's Office of Technology Licensing,” said Eve Marder, the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience. “He was an advocate for the sciences and undergraduate education, and his calm voice and leadership will be sorely missed by all those who interacted with him."

Barkas and his wife, Lynda Wijcik, strongly supported a number of important Brandeis programs, including the sciences, IBS and the Rose Art Museum. His giving to the Rose established the Student Committee for the Rose Art Museum (SCRAM), which works closely with museum staff to organize events for the Brandeis student body. 

Barkas earned his B.A. in biology from Brandeis and his Ph.D. in biology from New York University in 1986. He conducted research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, the Whitehead Institute at MIT, and Duke University.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his two young daughters, Alina and Johanna.

Gifts in his honor may be made to the Alex Barkas '68 Fund for Innovation, Brandeis University, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, PO Box 549110, MS 126, Waltham, MA 02454-9110 or online.

Categories: Alumni, General

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