Welcome Back to Campus!

Aug. 27, 2015

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Frisbees sailing across the Great Lawn. Coffee bars abuzz with chatter. Old friends catching up on the Rabb steps. They’re all signs a new academic year has begun.

To everyone returning to campus, it is great to see you back! A warm welcome to our incoming undergraduate and graduate students, as well as our new faculty and staff. We are so happy you chose Brandeis, and we look forward to getting to know you better in the days ahead.

At Orientation events over the past few days, I’ve seen again and again how intellectually gifted, socially aware and exceptionally well-rounded our students are. Over the coming weeks, I know that our students’ curiosity and thirst for knowledge will be met with rigor and care by our faculty in classrooms, labs and creative spaces throughout campus.

In addition to stimulating academics, there will be no shortage of special activities this year. On January 28, 2016, we will launch a centennial celebration of the appointment of our namesake, Louis D. Brandeis, to the U.S. Supreme Court, an event that will feature Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, H’96, and a distinguished panel. Over the spring, more campus discussions and activities will explore the life and ideals of Justice Brandeis and his continuing relevance in 21st-century America.

Our largest student community-service organization, the Waltham Group, will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016. Last year, more than 1,500 students volunteered over 45,000 hours of service through the Waltham Group. This is a remarkable achievement. Just a few weeks ago, our commitment to social justice was recognized by the Princeton Review, which ranked Brandeis first in the nation in a newly created category: student engagement in community service.

If you haven’t already done so, please consider adding your energies to the Brandeis tradition of giving back. There are so many meaningful ways to do that here.

Like social justice, the arts have been an essential part of Brandeis since our inception. The Rose Art Museum, a linchpin of our arts landscape, will open several important exhibitions next month, including “Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood,” a 25-year retrospective of work by an internationally renowned American artist who takes an unblinking look at the role the female form has played in the history of painting.

You may have already noticed some campus improvements. Sherman Dining Hall has been renovated, with even more seating to come. Food service at Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Shapiro Campus Center has been expanded, and, next door, the Campus Bookstore has received its own makeover. The Mandel Humanities Quad continues to undergo improvement. Parts of several residence halls have been upgraded. Our oldest residence hall, the Castle, is showing its age, and so we are beginning a thoughtful process to develop a plan for its future.

Finally, as we improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, we will accelerate efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and make our campus more sustainable. I look to all of you to join me in this effort.

New students, new faculty, new physical spaces, new initiatives — this infusion of fresh ideas and energy all over campus will help us continue to advance the unique vitality and dynamism that is Brandeis University.

Best wishes for a wonderful year,
Lisa M. Lynch