Brandeis University
#95 Overall Influence#167 Desirability Rank

Brandeis University

Private research university in Waltham, Massachusetts

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By James Barham, PhD

Brandeis University was founded in suburban Boston in 1948. Its founders intended to provide a top-rank research university that would be friendly to Jewish students and faculty—at a time when the American Ivy League schools all restricted the number of their Jewish students according to a strict quota system.

The circumstances of Brandeis’s founding are unusual and rather complicated.

In 1914, the Middlesex College of Medicine and Surgery was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Later, it moved to Waltham and changed its name to Middlesex University.

By the end of World War II, Middlesex University was the only university in the US that did not have a Jewish quota. Unfortunately, it was struggling financially and was on the point of having to close its doors, which it finally did in 1947.

At the same time, the American-born rabbi and fervent Zionist, Israel Goldstein, was putting together a group of backers to launch a new research university in America which–while secular in its curriculum and open to all–would take as its special mission the education of the best and the brightest Jewish students, thus circumventing the Ivy League quota system.

Goldstein undertook a massive publicity campaign, for which he enlisted the help of the world-renowned physicist, Albert Einstein, among many others. (Einstein later resigned from the project.)

After long negotiations, Goldstein’s group was able to purchase the land and physical plant belonging to Middlesex University, which had by then shut its doors. Since there was no other continuity between the two schools–in students, in faculty, or in administration–Middlesex is not considered to be the official predecessor of Brandeis.

Goldstein and his associates named the new university after US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish member of that body.

Brandeis is associated with three Nobel laureates:

  • Biochemist and neuroscientist, Roderick MacKinnon
  • Chronobiology pioneers, Michael Rosbash & Jeffrey Hall

as well as the Turing Award winner,

  • Leslie Lamport

and the Fields Medalists,

  • Edward Witten
  • Heisuke Hironaka

Other prominent Brandeis connected individuals include the following:

  • Philosophers, Alasdair MacIntyre, Herbert Marcuse, Michael Sandel, Hubert Dreyfus, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Michael Walzer, Evelyn Fox Keller, Christian Hoff Sommers, Seyla Benhabib & Angela Davis
  • Bioethicist, Arthur Caplan
  • Law professor, Anita Hill
  • Mathematicians, Karen Uhlenbeck, Ruth Charney, David Harbater, Kiyoshi Igusa, Ira Gessel & Paul Sally
  • Computer scientists, Timothy Hickey & Harry Mairson
  • Astronomer, Janet Akyüz Mattei,/li>
  • Physicists, Charles H. Bennett, Paul Townsend, Matthew Headrick & Venkataraman Balakrishnan
  • Biochemists, William Jencks, Judith Voet, Perry Frey & Gregory Petsko
  • Cell biologists, Margaret Fuller & Jason Swedlow
  • Neuroscientist, Larry Abbott
  • Cognitive scientists, Ulrich Neisser, Philip Rubin & Ron Sun
  • Psychologists, Abraham Maslow & Elliot Aronson
  • Linguist, Ray Jackendoff
  • Poets, Adrienne Rich, Frank Bidart, Alicia Ostriker, Allen Grossman & Mark Halliday
  • Novelists, Kathy Acker, Gish Jen & Ha Jin
  • Novelist and memoirist, Frank Conroy
  • Literary critics, Philip Rahv, Elaine Showalter & Margo Jefferson
  • Inspirational author, Mitch Albom
  • Political commentators, Thomas Friedman, Walter Laqueur, Max Lerner & Kay Hymowitz
  • Classical composers, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Lieberson & Irving Fine
  • Popular music producer, Jon Landau
  • Theater producer, Michael Kaiser
  • Film directors, Marshall Herskovitz & Debra Granik
  • TV screenwriters, Marta Kauffman & David Crane
  • Actors, Louise Lasser & Tony Goldwyn
  • Historians, David Hackett Fischer, Deborah Lipstadt, David Oshinsky, Laura Snyder & Joan Wallach Scott
  • Judaica scholar, Michael Fishbane
  • Economists, Thomas Sowell, Stuart Altman, Robert Reich, Gustav Ranis & George Loewenstein
  • Anthropologists, Arjun Appadurai & Lawrence Rosen
  • Sociologists, Philip Rieff & Nancy Chodorow
  • Social activist and co-founder of the Youth International Party (Yippies), Abbie Hoffman
  • Photographer and philanthropist, Bobby Sager
  • Journalist, Guy Raz
  • TV correspondent, Bob Simon
  • US First Lady and philanthropist, Eleanor Roosevelt

From Wikipedia

Brandeis University is a private research university in Waltham, Massachusetts. Founded in 1948 as a non-sectarian, coeducational institution sponsored by the Jewish community, Brandeis was established on the site of the former Middlesex University. The university is named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: Wikipedia


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415 South St, Waltham MA 02454-9110

On Campus Crime Rates

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10 per 100k

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0 per 100k

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11 per 100k

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2 per 100k

Influential People

Who are Brandeis University's Most influential alumni?

Brandeis University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of . Brandeis University’s most academically influential people include David Bernstein , Timothy J. Hickey, and Robert Hand.

David Bernstein
David Bernstein

American academic

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Timothy J. Hickey

American computer scientist

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Robert Hand
Robert Hand

American astrologer and writer

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Allan Lichtman
Allan Lichtman

American political historian

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Lauren Slater

American psychologist

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Gary David Goldberg

American screenwriter and producer

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Jonathan Sarna

American historian

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Bernard McGinn

Theologian, historian, and scholar of spirituality

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Linda Hirshman

American lawyer

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Robert Gallucci

American political scientist

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Deborah Mowshowitz
Deborah Mowshowitz

American biochemist

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Joel Schwartz

American epidemiologist

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