Office of the President

A Transformational Gift

Jan. 4, 2022

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

I am pleased to share that Bobbi Samuels ’63 and the Samuels Family Foundation have made a transformational $10 million gift to create a center that will strengthen civic and community engagement at Brandeis. Endowed in memory of the late Vic Samuels ’63, the Vic and Bobbi ’63 Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation will advance the legacy of Vic’s lifelong commitment to the millennia-old Jewish tradition of tikkun olam — using one’s intellectual and material gifts to help heal the world.

This new initiative is a collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs and will leverage the strengths of both divisions. It will bring together students, faculty, and staff with leaders in the nonprofit sector and support innovative research that not only addresses direct community needs, but also supports civic transformation on campus, in Waltham, in Greater Boston, and beyond.

As many of you know, in 2020, the University committed itself to reengaging its founding ethos as part of the Framework for the Future. Brandeis students have a rich tradition of service. During planning that led to the Framework, we identified the need for a unifying structure that would build upon and further our institution’s strong culture of community engagement. With this new center, we will be well-positioned to realize our goal by combining the very best of Brandeis’ cutting-edge research, scholarship, and creative work as each relates to volunteer service.

As part of its core mission, the center will support faculty interested in community-engaged teaching and research. Serving as a focal point for faculty across divisions, fields, and schools at Brandeis, it will provide both the network and resources for faculty to enhance the quality of their pedagogy, develop innovative coursework, pursue exciting research, and identify and develop formal relationships with internal and external partners — all of which will benefit our institution and students immensely.

We anticipate that involvement with the center will provide our students with important lessons about life, particularly from working in communities whose life experiences are different from their own. We also expect that the center will play a critical role in furthering Brandeis’ positive impact in the Waltham community through collaboration with the Waltham Group and other student volunteer programs through which more than 500 students have volunteered this year alone.

We are grateful to the Samuels family, and we will use their generosity as a tool to shape our communities – and our world – for the better, and illuminate Vic’s legacy for generations to come. We look forward to sharing more about the center as it continues to take shape.


Ron Liebowitz