Board of Trustees elects four new members

Medical school dean, businessmen, community leader to join board in May

Newly elected trustees includeJeffrey Flier, Cynthia Shapira, Ron Kaiserman and Olaf Olafsson.

The dean of a leading medical school, a top corporate executive, a businessman whose family connections to Brandeis go back to the university’s earliest days and a community leader involved in Jewish and civic organizations were recently elected to the Board of Trustees.

Jeffrey Flier of Newton, a parent of two Brandeis alumnae; Ron Kaiserman of Philadelphia, a 1963 Brandeis graduate; Olaf Olafsson of New York, a 1985 Brandeis graduate; and Cynthia Shapira of Pittsburgh will join the university’s governing board following Commencement exercises on May 19. They were elected to four-year terms.

Scheduled to join the board as ex officio members are incoming Board of Fellows Chair Joyce Krasnow of Edwards, Colo., a parent of a 1983 Brandeis graduate, and new Brandeis National Committee President Barbara Sander of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., the former president of the organization’s chapters in Sarasota and St. Louis.

“I am thrilled to welcome this distinguished group to the Board of Trustees,” President Fred Lawrence said. “They will each bring a valuable set of expertise and experiences to our board and enhance Brandeis’ position as an elite liberal arts research university.”

Before becoming dean of Harvard Medical School in 2007, Jeffrey Flier served in a variety of positions at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: chief of the diabetes unit, chief of the endocrinology division, vice chair for research in the department of medicine and chief academic officer. An endocrinologist, he is regarded as an authority on the molecular causes of obesity and diabetes. He has authored more than 200 scholarly papers and reviews.

Flier’s daughters, Sarah and Lydia, graduated from Brandeis in 2000 and 2011, respectively. Sarah is a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel.

Ron Kaiserman is a partner of the Kaiserman Co., the real-estate acquisition, development and management firm his father founded in the 1920s. The company manages more than four million square feet of office, commercial and residential properties in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Ron founded and serves as president of an affiliated real-estate firm, Shiramax. He supports a number of organizations in his hometown, including the Prince Music Theater, the Academy of Music of Philadelphia, the American Jewish Committee and Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia.

Along with his late brother Ken ’60, Ron established the Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Chair in the Humanities in honor of his parents, who were among the visionaries who helped found Brandeis. He also created a scholarship fund and served on the board of the Brandeis Alumni Association. His daughter, Shira, is a 2007 Brandeis graduate.
Olaf Olafsson serves as executive vice president of international and corporate strategy at Time Warner, where he is a strategic adviser on digital and international matters and oversees an investment fund for new ventures. He earlier served as chair of the company’s digital media division and was president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. He has also authored four critically acclaimed novels and one collection of short stories.

At Brandeis, Olafsson, a physics major and math minor, finished first in his class and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. The native of Iceland attended the university through the Wien International Scholarship Program.

Cynthia Shapira serves as secretary on the board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, which represents and supports more than 150 Jewish federations and 300 independent Jewish communities. She is also development chair for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and sits on the board of several organizations, including the Jewish Agency for Israel and the United Way of Allegheny County.

She is on the Alumni Leadership Council at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, is a member of the Allegheny County Airport Authority and was appointed to the Pennsylvania Commission on Women by Gov. Tom Corbett.

Categories: Alumni, General

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