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The board of trustees: two members and their devotion to Brandeis

By Victoria Aronson

Section: Features

March 9, 2012

Dan Jick

For trustee Dan Jick ’79, Brandeis is a family tradition. Connections with the university led Jick to create a scholarship in honor of his father, Leon, who served as a professor of Jewish History. Asserting the crucial and lifelong friendships that can be established during these years, Jick married a fellow Brandeis graduate (Elizabeth, class of 1981). Currently, his son Josh is a senior, pursuing a major in Economics and a minor in Business, while his elder daughter Jamie graduated in 2009 with a degree in Economics and Art History. Jick described his experience at Brandeis as a “wonderful time” in which he “took advantage of the university’s small size to get to know professors and become involved in extracurricular activities.”
Having majored in Economics himself, Jick went on to graduate from Harvard Business School before embarking on his career in finance. Upon his graduation, Jick obtained employment with Goldman Sachs, where he was involved in both the Boston and London offices. He served as co-founder and CEO of HighVista Strategies, an experience that warranted skills applicable to his role as trustee.
Initially elected to the Board of Trustees in 1996, Jick has co-chaired the Investment Committee, which is involved with managing of the University’s endowment. On an annual basis, he hosts the Greater Boston Alumni Club’s New Student Send-Off to connect students.
Jick remarked on his former involvement with the Student Service Bureau and fondly recollects the free shuttle bus to Boston. Upon returning as a trustee and inevitably witnessing alterations to the university through the attendance of both his son and daughter, Jick asserts that “the quality of students has certainly increased, while the environment has become more academically challenging.”
Yet, certain fundamental aspects of the Brandeis community still linger from his days in the class of 1979 to the present. Among these, he cites “the culture and spirit” of the student body, and the “focus on undergraduates within a relatively small research university.”
Jick urged students “to get as much as possible out of the experience, through academics, activities and building friendships that will endure throughout life, and to forge a lifelong connection to the Brandeis family.”

Frances Bermanzohn

Describing Brandeis as “an idyllic campus on a hill,” trustee Frances Bermanzohn ’78 fondly recollects her memories as a student. Recently elected as a trustee member in May of 2011, Bermanzohn describes the “emotional experience of being able to come back in this new capacity” as overwhelming and inspirational, causing her to “reflect on her own life.”
Originally from the Bronx, she attended a New York City public high school before embarking upon her career at Brandeis University as a scholarship student at the age of 16. She “had no idea what direction her life would take” and that she never envisioned her future in finance. During her sophomore year, she recalls sitting on the steps outside East on a beautiful spring day studying, as male peers from a neighboring dorm synchronized their cassette players. Since this experience, she has noted distinct physical alterations within the campus, but identifies the “energy level, student accomplishments and broad world view” as defining characteristics that linger to this day.
Currently managing director and deputy general counsel at Goldman Sachs, a leading investment firm, she asserts: “Brandeis students are at a great institution that will enable them to do great things,” a fact which she understands can be easily forgotten amid intense exams and the rigor of day-to-day activities.
As a trustee member, Bermanzohn has incorporated skills derived from her career to continue contributing to the university. Last year, she organized an event in which approximately 40 alumni members at Goldman Sachs met with President Lawrence. In order to foster a “closer connection” with the firm and students, she has also sponsored career days in which panels of alumni members spoke about the details of their profession and the manner in which they achieved such a career. Beyond simply fostering this relationship, she said, “we seek to hire really smart people, and Brandeis produces them,” encouraging future employment opportunities for students.
Upon returning, Bermanzohn has been “immersing herself in understanding Brandeis as a trustee,” finding skills she has derived from experience with the investment firm as translatable to her involvement with the university. As a trustee, she asserts the need to “identify the strategic vision,” garnish adequate funding, and navigate changes in the future among other responsibilities.
When questioned if she had any advice for students continuing to pave their way at Brandeis University, she identified attitude as an essential attribute to success. She acknowledges that although “Brandeis provides the required intellectual skills, it remains up to you to bring personality.” Currently, Frances Bermazohn resides in Manhattan, NY, with her spouse, two children and pet beagle.

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