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Brandeis hosts its 75th anniversary celebration along with homecoming and parents weekend

This past weekend, Brandeis held its 75th anniversary celebration, along with both parents weekend and homecoming. With a jam-packed schedule spanning from October 13-15, this long awaited event brought together esteemed alumni, distinguished faculty, students and others connected to the university to celebrate 75 years of Brandeis. 

The festivities commenced on October 13 with President Ron Liebowitz expressing his optimism toward the future of Brandeis. According to an article detailing events from the 75th anniversary, President Liebowitz stated, “As we celebrate our first 75 years and look ahead to our next 75, I am so optimistic about the future.” He then went on to emphasize the importance of students engaging in respectful debate, embodying the values for which Brandeis is renowned.

On Friday morning, a panel brought together current students and alumni to discuss Jewish life at Brandeis. This discussion featured Eitan Marks ‘24 (current Brandeis Hillel President), Samantha Brody ‘24 (current Hillel International Student Board Chair), Rabbi Elaine Zecher ‘83 (Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel – Boston), Rabbi Herbert Tobin ‘75, P’16 (Senior Consultant to Hillel and the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life), Nancy Kaufman ‘72 (former CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women) and Jeremy Novich ‘08 (Psychologist for Jewish Queer Youth). This discussion touched on topics including the Near Eastern Judaic Studies program at Brandeis, Jewish identity, building community, diversity and much more. 

The celebration and festivities continued with a warm welcome reception held on the Great Lawn, where alumni, students, faculty and family mingled and reminisced. 

Another panel held on Friday featured Chad Williams, current Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Brandeis, and Roy Deberry ‘70, GSAS MA’78, PhD’79. The discussion centered around the astounding Black individuals that have made a profound impact on Brandeis’ community. According to a Brandeis article Professor Williams stated, “Black people have been absolutely central to Brandeis’ history and recognizing this history is essential for how Brandeis must imagine its future.” 

Other notable alumni, such as NPR host Guy Raz ‘96, engaged in a panel discussion about their work. Actor John-Andrew Morrison ‘95 described how Brandeis opened his eyes to new ways of learning. Healthcare professional Cheryl Pegus ‘84 stated that the university taught her how to critically think effectively. Finally, University Professor and author Anita Hill and Professor Emerita Joyce Antler ‘63 discussed the women leaders who have made a profound impact on Brandeis’ campus.

Most of the festivities concluded Saturday night with the Diamond Celebration, a gala event that had many Brandeisians (past and present) celebrating under a large tent on the Great Lawn. This event also included award ceremonies and the presentation of the Abram L. Sachar Award to television journalist, Judy Woodruff. 

This weekend was also an occasion for Homecoming and Family Weekend, merging academic discussions with class reunion gatherings, sports events and student talent showcases. The weekend concluded on Sunday with a memorial service, a craft market and a festive pumpkin carving event. 

The weekend-long celebration showcased not only the academic excellence which Brandeis is known for, but also the sense of community that has defined the university for 75 years and that will continue to do so. 

For further information regarding details of the events that took place this past weekend, and events taking place for the rest of the 2023-2024 academic year, be sure to visit Brandeis’ website.

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