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Alumni in the News

Alumni Association Board welcomes new members-at-large

Alexander Heckler ’98, Risa Levine ’83, Jessica Willingham ’10 and Shelly Wolf ’64 have been elected members-at-large to the Alumni Association Board of Directors. They began their two-year terms on July 1.

“I am delighted to welcome our newest members to the board,” said Mark Surchin ’78, president of the Alumni Association. “They bring a range of professional experience and diversity of perspective to our group. I look forward to working with them to increase alumni engagement, both alum to alum and with the University.”

Alexander Heckler ’98, is founding and managing partner of LSN Partners, a consulting firm, and a partner at Llorente & Heckler, a boutique law firm. Both firms are based in Miami. As a student, Heckler served on the Student Union and was an officer for the Brandeis Democrats, and worked on two state senate campaigns. He was selected as the student liaison for former Texas Gov. Ann Richards while she served as the Fred and Rita Richman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Politics. Richards, a former Brandeis trustee who died in 2006, became a mentor to Heckler and hired him to work in her Miami law office while he was in law school. In 2014, he established the Alexander P. Heckler Family/Gov. Ann Richards Summer Political Internship Program, which provides an annual stipend for a Brandeis student to intern in the government or nonprofit sector in Washington, D.C. (see related story.) Heckler served as co-chair of his 15th Reunion in 2013.

Heckler is looking forward to serving on the board. “I simply want to be more involved, and give back to the University that gave me so much,” he said.

Risa Levine ’83 is an attorney in private practice in New York City. While an undergraduate, she was associate news editor and news editor for The Justice, served as national lobby coordinator for the Student Coalition for Soviet Jewry, and worked on Ethiopian Jewish issues with Amnesty International. Levine has stayed involved with her alma mater since graduation and served as co-chair of her 20th, 25th and 30th Reunions. She was profiled in a Brandeis feature story about her activism.

“Brandeis took a passionate, intelligent but naïve young girl and converted me into an analytical thinker who feels a responsibility to the larger world beyond,” said Levine. “Brandeis has remained a critical element of my life story since graduation. I want to help Brandeis continue to grow and remain a leader.”

Jessica Willingham ’10 is a public relations coordinator at the Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Commissioners Office. As an undergraduate, she was a research and administrative assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, where she provided case research for the Innocence Project and conducted research on illegal adoptions. Willingham played intramural volleyball at Brandeis, and was very involved with the Brandeis television station (BTV), as a reporter, writer, host and editor of a range of programs. As an alumna, Willingham has been an active member of the Alumni Club of Philadelphia; a Bold (Brandeis of the Last Decade) liaison; a member of her 5th Reunion Committee; a career mentor for students and alumni; and a class agent.

“Brandeis alumni share a special bond,” said Willingham. “I hope that by serving on the Alumni Association Board, I can help other alumni get involved and make them feel more connected to the University community.”

Shelly Wolf ’64 is a senior project manager for technology and systems development at Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia. As an undergraduate, she was captain of the cheerleading team, a member of the fencing team and served on the Judicial Board of Review. She was one of only two women in her class to major in mathematics. Wolf credits her professional success to the liberal arts education she received at Brandeis and the broad perspective it afforded her. Since graduation, she has remained very involved, serving as president of the Alumni Club of Philadelphia, chairing the Philadelphia Alumni Admissions Council, co-chairing her 25th Reunion and hosting several alumni events at her home. She is also a member of the President’s Council.

“As a member of one of the ‘pioneer’ classes, I can add perspective to the Alumni Association board,” Wolf said “I enjoy my connection to the University and would like to find ways to engage more alumni in the Brandeis community.”

With more than 40,000 members, a number that increases annually by approximately 1,000, the Brandeis University Alumni Association is a robust, vibrant community that offers lifelong opportunities for alumni to stay connected to each other and to the University. All graduates of Brandeis are automatically members of the Alumni Association and are entitled to a range of benefits and services. Alumni are nominated and elected to serve on the Board of Directors for up to two consecutive two-year terms. Members represent the interests and concerns of alumni to the university administration.


Date: July 28, 2016