Richman Fellows are selected from among individuals active in public life whose contributions have had a significant impact on improving American society, strengthening democratic institutions, advancing social justice or increasing opportunities for all citizens to realize and share in the benefits of this nation.
The Richman Distinguished Fellowship in Public Life was created by Brandeis alumna Dr. Carol Richman Saivetz ’69, along with her children, Michael Saivetz ’97 and Aliza Saivetz Glasser ’01, in honor of Carol’s parents, Fred and Rita Richman. The award is funded by the generosity of the Richman and Saivetz families.
The Richman Distinguished Fellowship in Public Life is hosted by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life on behalf of the Office of the President.
2020 Fellow Named
Disabilities rights activist Rebecca Cokley is the 2020 Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life.
“Achieving an Inclusive Democracy: What It Means for Every Voice to Count”
Virtual Award Ceremony and Presentation
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
The award was presented by Provost Carol A. Fierke.
The Americans With Disabilities Act, one of the most comprehensive civil rights laws in the country, just turned 30, and yet 60 million disabled people still struggle to access key parts of the American Dream.
The first program officer to lead a U.S. based disability rights portfolio for the Office of the President at the Ford Foundation, Rebecca Cokley has worked as a disabilities rights activist to seek deeper connections across communities pursuing civil rights. Inducted into the inaugural class of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame, Cokley has also appeared on the Vox/Netflix series "Explained" and "Last Week Tonight" with John Oliver.
- View a recording of a 2020 Heller School virtual event where Cokley served as a panelist: "Disability Rights Are Civil Rights."
- View Cokley's 2018 TedXUniversityofRochester talk, "Reflections from an ADA Generation."
- See the 2017 CNN piece on Cokley, "What It's Like to Be Me."
Call for Nominations
The Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life recognizes an individual who has improved American society, strengthened democratic institutions, advanced social justice or increased opportunities for all Americans to share in the benefits of the United States. $25,000 award. Deadline March 1. View the criteria and guidelines.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brandeis will not accept nominations for the Richman Distinguished Fellowship in 2021. We will resume our regular nomination deadline in 2022.