( ) is an American private
research university with a
focus. It is located in the
southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, United
States, nine miles (14 km) west of Boston.
University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate
and 2,100 graduate students. In 2009, it was ranked by the U.S. News and World Report
number 31 national university in the United States. Forbes
listed Brandeis University as number 30 among
all national universities and liberal arts colleges combined and
among the top 15 national research universities in 2009. In 2009,
Forbes ranked it as the 38th best college in the United
Brandeis was founded in 1948 as a nonsectarian coeducational
institution on the site of the
. The university is named for Louis Dembitz Brandeis
the first Jewish Associate
Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
The Heller School for
Social Policy and Management
, founded in 1959, is noteworthy
for its graduate programs in social
, social work
, and international development
Brandeis sponsors the Wien International
for international undergraduate students.
Names associated with the conception of Brandeis include Israel Goldstein
, George Alpert, C. Ruggles
Smith, Albert Einstein
, and Abram L. Sachar
Usen Castle, a recognizable building
C. Ruggles Smith was the son of Dr. John Hall Smith, founder of
, who had died in 1944. In 1946, the university was
on the brink of financial collapse. At the time, it was one of the
few medical schools in the U. S. that did not impose a Jewish quota
; but it had never been able to
accreditation—in part, its founder believed, due to institutional
antisemitism in the AMA—and, as a result, Massachusetts had all but
shut it down.
Israel Goldstein was a prominent rabbi in New York from 1918 until
1960 (when he immigrated to Israel), and an influential Zionist
. Before 1946, he had headed the New York Board of Rabbis
Jewish National Fund
, and the
Zionist Organization of
, and helped found the National
Conference of Christians and Jews
. On his eightieth birthday,
in Israel, Yitzhak Rabin
leaders of the government, the parliament, and the Zionist movement
assembled at his house to pay him tribute. But among all his
accomplishments, the one chosen by the New York Times to headline
his obituary was: "Rabbi Israel Goldstein, A Founder of
C. Ruggles Smith, desperate for a way to save something of
Middlesex University, learned of a New York committee headed by
Goldstein that was seeking a campus to establish a Jewish-sponsored
secular university, and approached Goldstein with a proposal to
give the Middlesex campus and charter to Goldstein's committee, in
the hope that his committee might "possess the apparent ability to
reestablish the School of Medicine on an approved basis." Goldstein
was concerned about being saddled with a failing medical school,
but excited about the opportunity to secure a "campus not far from
New York, the premier Jewish community in the world, and only from
Boston, one of the important Jewish population centers." Goldstein
agreed to accept Smith's offer and then proceeded to recruit George
Alpert, a Boston lawyer with fund-raising experience as national
vice president of the United Jewish
Alpert (1898-September 11, 1988) had worked his way through
University School of Law and co-founded the firm of Alpert and
His firm had a long association with the New York, New Haven
and Hartford Railroad
, of which he was to become president from
1956 to 1961George Alpert, 90; was a Founder and First Chairman of
Brandeis; The Boston Globe, September 13, 1988, p. 82 He is
best known today as the father of Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass). He was influential in Boston's
Jewish community. His Judaism "tended to be social rather than
spiritual." He was involved in assisting children displaced from
Germany. Alpert was to be chairman of Brandeis from 1946 to 1954,
and a director from 1946 until his death.
Goldstein also recruited Albert
, whose involvement, while stormy and short-lived, was
extremely important, as it drew national attention to the nascent
university. The founding organization was named "The Albert
Einstein Foundation for Higher Learning, Inc." and early press
accounts emphasized his involvement.
The origin of what was to become Brandeis was closely associated
with the name of Albert Einstein from February 5, 1946, when he
agreed to the establishment of the Albert Einstein Foundation for
Higher Learning, Inc., until June 22, 1947, when he withdrew his
The trustees offered to name the university after Einstein in the
summer of 1946, but Einstein declined, and on July 16, 1946 the
board decided the university would be named after Louis Brandeis
On August 19, the plans for the new university were announced by
prominent rabbi and Zionist Israel
, president of the Albert Einstein Foundation.
Goldstein said that the planned university was to be supported by
contributions from Jewish organizations and individuals, and
stressed the point that the institution was to be without quotas
and open to all "regardless of race, color, or creed." The
institution was to be "deeply conscious both of the Hebraic
tradition of Torah looking upon culture as a birthright, and of the
American ideal of an educated democracy." In later stories the New
York Times' capsule characterization of Brandeis was "a
Jewish-supported non-quota university."
Einstein and Goldstein clashed almost immediately. Einstein
objected to what he thought was excessively expansive promotion,
and to Goldstein's sounding out Abram
as a possible
president without consulting Einstein. Einstein took great offense
at Goldstein's having invited Francis
to participate in a fundraising event.
Einstein resigned on September 2, 1946. Believing the venture could
not succeed without Einstein, Goldstein quickly agreed to resign
himself, and Einstein returned; his brief departure was publicly
The Foundation acquired the campus of the Middlesex University in
Waltham, which was almost defunct except for the Middlesex
Veterinary and Medical College. The charter of this small and
marginal operation was transferred to the Foundation along with the
campus. The Foundation had pledged to continue operating it, but
began to feel that it would never be more than third-rate, while
its operating costs were burdensome at a time when the Foundation
was trying to raise funds. Disputes arose whether to try to improve
it—as Einstein wished—or to terminate it. Einstein also became
alarmed by press announcements that exaggerated the school's
success at fundraising, and on June 22, 1947 he made a final break
with the enterprise. The veterinary school was closed, despite
"indignant and well-publicized protests and demonstrations by the
disappointed students and their parents". George Alpert, a lawyer
responsible for much of the organizational effort, gave another
reason for the break: Einstein's desire to offer the presidency of
the school to left-wing scholar Harold
. Alpert characterized Laski as "a man utterly alien to
American principles of democracy, tarred with the Communist brush."
He said, "I can compromise on any subject but one: that one is
Six years later, Einstein would decline the offer of an honorary
degree from Brandeis, writing to Brandeis president Abram L. Sachar
that "what happened in the stage of
preparation of Brandeis University was not at all caused by a
misunderstanding and cannot be made good any more."
Historians Slater and Slater commented that "plagued by infighting,
Brandeis in early 1948 seemed a project in serious trouble.
Nonetheless, the school opened in the fall with 107 students." The
historians list the opening of Brandeis as one of their "Great
Moments in Jewish History."
In 1954 Brandeis inaugurated a graduate program and became fully
accredited. In 1985, Brandeis was elected to membership in the
, which represents the sixty two leading
research universities in the United States and Canada.
Student takeover of Ford Hall
From January 8-18, 1969 about 70 students captured and held
then-student-center, Ford Hall. The student protesters renamed the
school "Malcolm X
University" for the
duration of the siege (distributing buttons with the new name and
logo) and issued a list of ten demands for better minority
representation on campus. Most of these demands were subsequently
met.Ford Hall was demolished in August 2000 to make way for the
Shapiro Campus Center, which was opened and dedicated October 3,
Rose Art Museum
The Rose Art Museum opened in 1961, the result of a decade-long
struggle to house the art donations Brandeis had been receiving.
Abram Sachar had written of the importance of fine arts to Brandeis
and his "determination to expose our students and faculty to every
kind of art orientation." Of the museum itself he had
But in response to a university budget shortfall of $10 million, a
formerly $700 million endowment now reduced, and the loss of
longtime donors who lost money through investments with Bernard Madoff
, on January 26, 2009 the
university announced it would close the Rose Art Museum in
September 2009 and sell off a prized collection of contemporary
American art, stating the "The bottom line is that the students,
the faculty and core academic mission come first. (Trustees) had to
look at the college's assets and came to a decision to maintain
that fundamental commitment to teaching." Amidst protests and
criticism, the Massachusetts Attorney General plans to review the
planned sale and wills and agreements between the museum and
donors. The university subsequently indicated that it would sell
only a limited number of pieces, if any, and would keep the museum
open as a teaching and exhibition gallery.
The failure to resolve the university's budget difficulties through
the art sell-off led to a decision in May 2009 to suspend the
university's contribution to employees' retirement funds for one
Brandeis University's president, Jehuda Reinharz, has announced
that he will resign at the end of the academic year, The Boston
Globe reported. The announcement took many on the campus by
surprise, but Mr. Reinharz said the recent criticism over his
financial stewardship and plans to close the university's Rose Art
Museum was not a factor in his decision. At age 65, he said, he
felt the time had come to move on.
The presidents of Brandeis University have been:
The schools of the University include:
The College of Arts and Sciences comprises 24 departments and 22
interdepartmental programs, which, in total, offer 52 majors and 47
Internships, research assistantships and other hands-on experiences
are available throughout the curriculum. The global and
experiential dimensions of education at Brandeis are carried out
through international centers and institutes, which sponsor
lectures and colloquia and add to the ranks of distinguished
scholars on campus.
The Brandeis University Press, a member of the University Press of New
, publishes books in a variety of scholarly and general
The Goldfarb Library at Brandeis has more than 1.6 million volumes
and 300,000 e-journals. The library also houses a large United
States Government archive. Brandeis University is a part of the Boston
Library Consortium, which allows its students, faculty, and staff
to access and borrow books and other materials from other BLC
institutions including, Brown University, Tufts
- David Hackett Fischer, Eileen McNamara, Yehudi Wyner (emeritus)
have been awarded the Pulitzer
- Bernadette Brooten and Gina Turrigiano are members of the
- Nikolaus Grigorieff, Dorothee Kern, Chris Miller, Michael
Rosbash are Howard
Hughes Medical Institute Investigators.
- Stuart Altman and Greg Petsko are members of the Institute of Medicine.
- Carolyn Cohen, David DeRosier (emeritus),
Stanley Deser (emeritus), Jeff Hall (emeritus), Hugh Huxley
(emeritus), Eve Marder, Chris Miller, Greg Petsko, Alfred Redfield
(emeritus), and Michael Rosbash are members of the National Academy
- Yehudi Wyner (emeritus) is a member of the American Academy of Arts
Brown (emeritus), David Buchsbaum (emeritus), Carolyn Cohen, Saul
Cohen (emeritus), David DeRosier (emeritus), Stanley Deser
(emeritus), David Hackett Fischer, James Haber, Jeff Hall
(emeritus), Ray Jackendoff (emeritus), Gish Jen, Mickey Keller
(emeritus, Henry Linschitz (emeritus), Eve Marder, Irene
Pepperberg, Greg Petsko, Alfred Redfield (emeritus), Jehuda
Reinharz, Michael Rosbash, Jonathan Sarna, Sam Schweber (emeritus),
and Andrew Szent-Györgyi (emeritus) are members of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences.
- Brandeis University was ranked No. 21 among the
top 25 national universities in the country, according to recently
released rankings by the Center for College Affordability &
Productivity (CCAP), an independent, not-for-profit center based in
- US News and World
Report ranked Brandeis No. 31 in their 2009
annual list of Best National Universities. Acceptance to Brandeis
was categorized under "Most Selective". It was also ranked
No. 9 of "Most Liberal
- No. 16 among 50 Best Values in Private
Colleges according to Kiplinger.com
- No. 30 among 567 undergraduate institutions
and top 15 among national research universities in a recent ranking
- One of the "Top 20 Small Research Universities" based on the
Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index (2006-07)
- No. 27 among Top American Private Research
Universities by The Center for Measuring University Performance
- Received a "B-" grade on the Campus Sustainability Report Card
2009 published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute (including
"A" grades in the Student Involvement, Administration, and
Investment Priorities). Just 23% of schools earned overall grades
of "B" or better.
The Brandeis University athletic teams The Judges
compete in the University Athletic
(UAA) conference of the NCAA Division III
Brandeis has 10 varsity teams for both men and women, and 1 coed
varsity team. The varsity teams are in:
Brandeis also has more than 18 club sports and numerous intramural
sports, including sailing
which used to be a
varsity sport, rugby union
, and martial arts
. Staff and faculty are allowed to
play on intramural teams.
coached the men's tennis
team from 1959 to 1963. Chris Ford
(2001-03) was the third former Boston
player to become head coach at Brandeis, following
(1970-86) and K.C. Jones
Benny Friedman, who was enshrined in the
Hall of Fame in 2005, served as athletic director from 1949 to
1961 and head football coach from 1951 to 1959, when the football
team was disbanded due to high
costs. Pete Varney
, a former
Major League Baseball
for the Chicago White Sox
is the current head
coach of the baseball team.
, who pitched for the
New York Mets
in 2008, is the first
Brandeis graduate to play in Major League Baseball.
('00) won a silver medal
at the 2008 Olympics in Men's team Saber
in Beijing, China. The Brandeis Judges
consistently send many fencers
to the New
England Regional NCAA championships, often with several continuing
on to the NCAA National Championships.
The Brandeis Men's Soccer team won the ECAC
Championship in the
2006/2007 season. The Women's Soccer team followed up in the
2007/2008 season with their first ECAC Championship since the
The Gosman Sports and Recreation Center is the main athletic center
on campus and includes indoor and outdoor facilities for the sports
offered at the university. Since the building opened in 1991, the
university has hosted four NCAA championships. The Gosman Center
also served as the preseason training home and practice facility of
the Boston Celtics
between 1991 and
The university has an active student government, the Brandeis Student
, as well as more than 270 student organizations. Fraternities and sororities
officially prohibited by Brandeis University, as they are contrary
to a central tenet of the university, namely, that student
organizations be open to all students, with membership determined
by competency or interest. According to an official handbook,
"[e]xclusive or secret societies are inconsistent with the
principles of openness to which the University is committed."
Brandeis has eleven a cappella
groups, six undergraduate-run theater companies, one sketch comedy
troupe, and four improv-comedy
groups, as well as
many other cultural and arts clubs. Of particular note is the
Brandeis Academic Speech and Debate Society which consistently
ranks as one of the top 10 debate
the United States, and participates across the globe in the
Universities Debating Championships
Cholmondeley's coffeehouse, commonly referred to as "Chums," is
located in Brandeis' Usen Castle
is a popular site for student performances and concerts, including
, Joan Baez
, Matt Pond
, and Genesis
(notable as their
first American performance).
Brandeis University's Campus Sustainability Initiative seeks to
reduce the University's environmental and climate change impact.
The University's accomplishments in the arena of sustainability
include the creation of a
student-organized on-campus Farmers' Market, the implementation of
a single-stream recycling
program, and the transition to GreenE certified wind power for 15%
of the school's electricity needs. Brandeis also offers a course
called "Greening the Campus and Community," in which students
"examine the environmental impacts of the Brandeis and Waltham
community, and then design and implement projects to address those
impacts." Student projects have included greening campus offices,
running after-school environmental education programs for children
in the Waltham schools, and cleaning up local streams and
Students also have the option of taking courses with a 'Community
Engaged Learning' (CEL) aspect. Community-engaged learning is an
aspect of the university's broad-based commitment to experiential
medical services are provided by the Brandeis
Emergency Medical Corps, a Massachusetts-certified EMT-Basic volunteer
student organization which does not charge a fee for any of its
Security escort services are provided around the campus and into
Waltham by the student-run "Branvan" , which runs on a daily
schedule from 4:00 pm to 2:30 am on weekdays and from 12:00 pm to
2:30 am on weekends.
university is west of Boston and is accessible through Brandeis/Roberts station on the Fitchburg Commuter
Rail Line, a free shuttle that services Boston and Cambridge
Square) Thursday through Sunday, the nearby Riverside
subway station (above ground) on the Green Line, and the 553 MBTA Bus.
- First years traditionally celebrate the end of the first year
writing class by throwing a celebration of student writing pizza
party. Instructors read the worst sentences from the semester.
- During Orientation, the entire first year class takes a boat
cruise on the Boston Harbor.
- Pachanga, a European-style dance party is held bi-annually.
This sold-out event draws hundreds of students from around the
greater Boston area.
- Each year, the University hosts SpringFest and "Fall
Fest." Different bands are hired for a daylong music festival. Free
food and Alcohol/Beer (for 21+) is included. In Spring 2009,
Asher Roth, The Decemberists, RJD2,
and Deerhunter performed.
- Each semester during finals week, a midnight buffet is
served—free food, prizes, and activities
- Every semester the Activities Fair is held on the Great Lawn in
front of the Shapiro Campus Center. Each club sets up a table and
competes to get as many new students involved in the diverse array
of 270+ clubs.
- Two statues on campus, one of Justice Louis Brandeis, and one
known as Peter Pan, are dressed up by students during the winter
and Red Sox games.
- During finals, the "munchie-mobile" circulates residential
quads and gives out free snacks.
- On snowy days, the library hill sees students sledding on
'borrowed' trays from the dining halls.
- Bronstein Week, or "Spirit Week," hosts an array of speakers,
activities, and free food outside classrooms.
- The SunDeis Film Festival was started by Brandeis students in
2003 committed to creating an annual film festival that showcases
independent student films and is open to the public. College
students from all over the country submit their films; the winners
are displayed at the final festival.
- Liquid Latex, held each spring, is a body art show that is one
of the most widely attended events on campus. The club collaborates
with designers, painters, choreographers, models, and students to
challenge traditional social norms. The models in the show are
painted entirely in liquid latex paint.
- The "Peace Room" on campus, location to be found by wandering
and wondering students, is a hidden, quiet room that each student
must find on their own.
- The Sophomore Ball is held annually in
- SPIN, or "Students and Professors Interacting Now," consists of
students taking their professors 'out-to-lunch' at the Faculty
Club. The Student Union finances these lunches.
- The Justice, which was founded in 1949 (one year after
the university) is an administratively independent weekly newspaper
distributed every Tuesday during term.
- The Brandeis Hoot, founded in 2005, is an independent
weekly newspaper published on Fridays.
- The Blowfish, a satirical newspaper founded in January
2006 is usually published every other Thursday during the school
year. The first issue appeared inside The Hoot but
subsequent issues have been published independently.
- WBRS at 100.1
FM, the school's radio station.
- The Louis Lunatic, founded in the winter of 2005, is a
student-run sports magazine released each semester, discussing
Brandeis and national sports.
- Archon, the yearbook.
- Gravity, a humor magazine founded in 1990.
- Laurel Moon, a literary magazine launched in
- Where the Children Play, a literature and arts
- Louis Magazine, a defunct journal of intellectual
- The Barrister News Ltd, a politically neutral
broadside weekly newspaper with nationally syndicated features.
- Under the Robe, an arts and entertainment social
tabloid published by The Barrister 1985-1988
- The Brandeis Scope , which reports on research that is
occurring on the Brandeis University campus and affiliated
laboratories in the sciences.
- The Pulse, which reports on advances in medicine;
published by the Pre-Health Society.
Institute for Informal Jewish Education
The Institute for Informal Jewish Education aims to support Jewish
educators in creating meaningful Jewish experiences through
professional development opportunities including pre-service
experiences, in-service experiences related to educators’ practice,
practitioner research, curriculum development, and strategic
organizational support. The IJE is funded partially through grants,
from the The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, The Legacy
Heritage Fund, The Covenant Foundation, and AVI CHAI Foundation
Current IJE projects include:
- Shabbat Enhancement/Experiential Educator grants.
- New Ways to Enhance Community Hebrew High Schools Principal
- Executive Leadership Institute for Camp directors.
- Merging the formal and informal education in synagogue middle schools.
The IJE runs two summer programs for high
integrates Jewish studies, humanities and
- BIMA offers
intensive opportunities to deepen skills in music, painting,
creative writing and theater within a Jewish context.
The IJE has close partnerships with The North American Association
of Community Hebrew High Schools and The Foundation for Jewish
In popular culture
Where did April come up with that stuff about
Adolf Loos and terms like "organic
She went to Brandeis.
- In the 1977 Woody Allen movie
Annie Hall, Allen includes
Brandeis in a long list of left-wing Jewish stereotypes.
- In Angel, Wesley gets excited when he thinks he is
meeting an archaeologist from
- In Gilmore Girls,
Paris suggests to Rory that she should go to Brandeis instead of
- In the 1998 movie Free
Enterprise, one of the characters (who is based on writer
Mark A. Altman) wears a Brandeis sweatshirt. Altman
also attended Brandeis.
- In the 1980s series Twin
Peaks, deputy Hawks' girlfriend was a Ph.D. from Brandeis.
- In the 90's sitcom Friends, the
Central Perk coffeehouse is reputedly
based on Cholmondeley's, a coffee shop and lounge in Usen
- In an episode of American
Dad, Roger the alien hatches a scheme to marry a Jewish
woman in order to receive expensive wedding presents, most notably
a blender. In order to woo this woman, he claims to have attended
- In the nonfiction book Tuesdays with Morrie written by
Mitch Albom, Morrie Schwartz is a retired sociology
professor from Brandeis University, where Albom was his