To a crowd of parents, Interim President Lisa Lynch gave the annual State of the University Address in the Rapaporte Treasure Hall on Sunday, Oct. 25. Her speech highlighted the achievements of students and faculty and provided advice for parents about how to support their students.
Brandeis, as she began her speech by saying, has to live up to the legacy that the university’s namesake Judge Louis D. Brandeis left. “Brandeis is a name that cannot be merely adopted. It’s one that must be achieved,” Lynch said. One way that students are achieving this is through community service, to which students have devoted over 40,000 hours in the city of Waltham alone.
Part of what makes Brandeis great, Lynch argued, is the presence of top faculty members who not only teach undergraduates, but enjoy it. “We’re excellent because we have excellent faculty here,” she said. She explained that many other universities, though they have faculty who have won prestigious awards and are engaged in innovative research, don’t often involve these people in the teaching process. In contrast, at Brandeis, undergraduates are encouraged to get involved in research with their professors and work closely with renowned scholars.
Much of Lynch’s address consisted of advice for parents, telling them to send their children care packages, invite them over for home-cooked meals and ensure that they are taking advantage of their time in college as an opportunity to explore different fields.
After Lynch had concluded her address, she offered audience members a chance to ask her any questions. When asked about the presidential search process, she emphasized the limitations of her role, saying that she took the job of interim president on the condition that she would not be considered for president.
She was unable to provide many details, saying, “I know nothing, other than that they are at the stage when they have their final list of candidates, and I anticipate that they will have an announcement about the next president of the university, if all is well, in the early part of the next calendar year.”
Lynch talked about financial aid and her desire to prioritize it, in terms of budgeting, over renovations. She acknowledged that dorms need improvement, but argued that spending money on students is more important. Brandeis does not, she said, have a very large budget compared to other research universities, but is able to accomplish a lot with the money allotted.
“We are never going to win ‘the most beautiful dorms’,” Lynch said. “I want our students to be in adequate housing, but I am going to make an investment in financial aid.”
Lynch will be hosting a Town Hall meeting Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Admissions Center Presentation Room.