Gift from longtime Brandeis supporters to help students

Mavis and Hans Lopater

By David E. Nathan

Generations of Brandeis students will benefit from the generosity of Hans and Mavis Lopater.

Brandeis undergraduates with a declared interest in English, American literature, history, European cultural studies, social sciences, psychology or women’s studies will be eligible to receive need-based support through the newly established Hans and Mavis Lopater Scholarship Fund.

In accordance with the terms of the couple’s foundation, Brandeis will receive generous annual distributions to support scholarships. The Lopaters’ commitment is one of the largest in University history designated for scholarships.

“The Lopaters were warm, kind people who identified strongly with the mission and history of Brandeis University,” said Nancy Winship, P ’10, P ’13, senior vice president of institutional advancement. “They cared deeply about our students, and they wanted to ensure that Brandeis would continue to educate the most promising students without regard to financial need.”

Hans, who died in 2010, served as vice president of marketing research at Gillette for many years and worked as a consultant for corporate giants such as Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical. He survived the Holocaust, leaving his home in Vienna in 1938 through kindertransport, a British rescue mission that placed nearly 10,000 predominantly Jewish European children in foster homes, hostels and schools in the days before World War II.

Mavis, Hans’ wife, died in 2012. For 18 years, she volunteered as a psycho-social counselor in addiction services and mental health at Emerson Hospital. An accomplished oil painter who studied at the DeCordova Museum and privately, her work was displayed at many local libraries and the Wayside Inn, a historic site in their hometown of Sudbury, Mass., near Waltham. Most of her paintings were landscapes based on pictures taken during the Lopaters’ travels, but she also painted darker works that were based on experiences in her native England during World War II.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Hans and Mavis, and thrilled that their legacies will live on through the Lopater Scholars,” said Myles Weisenberg '78, vice president of development, who worked with the couple for many years. “Their gift will make a difference in the lives of Brandeis students forever.”

Hans, a Brandeis fellow, and Mavis generously supported the University for many years. They made gifts to the Annual Fund, Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry and music program. The Lopaters were charter members of the Sachar Legacy Society, which is composed of people who have included the University in their estate plans.

Barbara Freedman Wand ’72, a partner at the law firm Bingham McCutchen who specializes in estate and charitable planning, worked closely with the Lopaters on their charitable giving. “Hans and Mavis were thoughtful partners in their philanthropy,” Wand says. “They focused much of their philanthropy on causes like the scholarship program that directly support those in need.”

Both Wand and her brother Bill Freedman ’76 were scholarship students at Brandeis, so the Lopaters’ gift had additional significance to her. “I would not have been able to attend Brandeis without scholarship support, so I understand how meaningful this gift is to the University,” she says.

Categories: Giving, Friends
Date: October 8, 2013