Reunion 2014 a smashing success!

The Brandeis campus was awash in sunshine and smiling faces as more than 1,200 alumni and their guests celebrated Reunion 2014.

Several new activities were introduced this year, including Dinner by the Decades, an expanded Fire & ’Deis Gala on Saturday night and a private screening of the critically acclaimed documentary, “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power,” featuring Brandeis Professor Anita Hill. Young alumni enjoyed participating in Kegs and Kickball, and alumni with young children were entertained at Ollie’s Family Fun. View the Reunion 2014 Slideshow or see Social Media Posts.

“Reunion 2014 was amazing,” said Patsy Fisher, vice president for alumni and university relations, who joined Brandeis last fall. “This was my first, and I am immensely impressed by the enthusiasm of Brandeis alumni. I have never seen such awesome dancing!”

The weekend started with Alumni College, as a record 300 alumni, friends and members of the Brandeis National Committee relived the unmatched Brandeis classroom experience. This year’s lineup included sessions led by International Business School Dean Bruce Magid, P ’15, the Martin and Ahuva Gross Chair in Financial Markets and Institutions; and Professors Judith Eissenberg, Jill Greenlee, John Plotz, Elizabeth Ferry, Chad Williams, James Morris, and Thomas Doherty.

Toronto residents Walter and Linda (Leonard) Zimmerman, both members of the Class of 1969 and parents of Rachel Zimmerman Brachman ’95, have started the seven Reunions they’ve attended since graduation with Alumni College.

“The intellectualism is well above what you find at other universities,” Walter said. “I am very impressed by the comments and questions of other alumni. It’s quite interesting and stimulating.” Linda, who met Walter in Goldfarb Library when they were freshmen, was pleased with the high level of conversation and intellectual engagement. “We used to say Brandeis would be perfect if we could do this without taking exams and writing papers. Well, that’s Alumni College and Reunion,” she said.

Saturday’s programming started off with a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast to honor the more than 200 alumni who served on class reunion committees. “Reunion simply would not happen without you, and we are deeply grateful for all the countless hours you have given your alma mater and your classmates,” Fisher told volunteers.

Three graduates received Alumni Achievement Awards (AAA) at a ceremony on Saturday morning. Wakako Hironaka, MA ’64, H ’87, Eve Marder ’69 and Eric Yoffie ’69 were recognized for their professional achievements and for bringing distinction to their alma mater. Journalist and former AAA recipient Walt Mossberg ’69 moderated a panel discussion among this year’s winners following the ceremony.

Thanks to glorious weather, hundreds turned out at the popular Ralph Norman Barbecue and Ice Cream Social at the Castle on Saturday afternoon. After class-specific gatherings ranging from discussions on art to politics to life on campus today, alumni joined the other Reunion class of their era for dinner.

Saturday night’s Fire & ‘Deis Gala was an enormous hit. The elegant all-class party featured music from the 17-piece Beantown Swing Orchestra; a tapas-style array of delectable desserts; and a bar offering specialty cocktails, beer and wine. The dance floor was packed and members of the orchestra offered swing dance lessons.

The festivities wrapped up on Sunday morning with a Farewell Champagne and Jazz Brunch and the screening of “Anita,” which chronicles Hill’s decision to speak truth to power during the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991.

Alumni were (and still are) encouraged to tweet reunion pictures using #DeisReunion to share the fun with those unable to attend. Check out this collection of social media posts to relive Reunion 2014. 

Categories: Reunion, Events
Date: June 9, 2014