Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

Four New Members Elected to Brandeis University Board of Trustees

April 30, 2018

Louis Brandeis statue against a blue sky with white clouds. Yellow and orange lillies cover the foreground of the photo.

The Brandeis University Board of Trustees, the university’s governing body, has elected four new members: Bonnie Berger ’83, professor of mathematics at MIT; Deborah Bial ’87, H’12, president and founder of the Posse Foundation; Josh Kraft, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston; and Lan Xue ’90, MA’91, founding partner at Trivest Advisors. Jonathan Davis ’75, founder, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the Davis Companies, was re-elected to the board.

The new trustees’ four-year terms begin May 14, the day after Brandeis’ Commencement exercises.

“These new members bring a wealth of experience to the Brandeis University Board of Trustees, with outstanding achievements in the academy, in nonprofit leadership and in finance,” said board chair Meyer G. Koplow ’72, P’02, P’05. “I have no doubt they will make deep and lasting contributions to the governance of our university.”

Bonnie Berger ’83 is the Simons Professor of Mathematics at MIT, holds a joint appointment in electrical engineering and computer science, and serves as head of the computation and biology group at MIT’s Computer Science and AI Lab. Her recent work focuses on designing algorithms to gain biological insights from advances in automated data collection and the subsequent large data sets drawn from them. She works on a diverse set of problems, including compressive genomics, network inference, structural bioinformatics, genomic privacy and medical genomics. Additionally, she collaborates closely with biologists to design experiments to maximally leverage the power of computation for biological explorations.

After beginning her career working in algorithms at MIT, Berger was one of the pioneer researchers in the area of computational molecular biology and, together with the many students she has mentored, has been instrumental in defining the field. She has won numerous awards, including a National Science Foundation Career Award and the Biophysical Society’s Dayhoff Award for research. She was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, received the Margaret Pittman Director’s Award at the NIH, and was elected as a fellow of both the International Society for Computational Biology and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Berger is also an associate member of the Broad Institute, a faculty member at Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, and an affiliated faculty member at Harvard Medical School. She was a computer science major at Brandeis.

Deborah Bial ’87, H’12, is an expert in the field of higher-education administration, college success and leadership development. Her extensive experience in facilitating dialogue related to issues of access, equity and diversity — and in guiding selective institutions of higher education toward improved admissions policy — has gained her national recognition in the higher-education community in the United States.

Bial is president and founder of the Posse Foundation, a youth leadership-development and college-success organization that sends teams (“posses”) of students from diverse backgrounds to selective colleges and universities, including Brandeis, which was one of the first schools to participate. Since 1989, the Posse Foundation has identified more than 8,400 Posse Scholars. These young people have won $1.2 billion in leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities, are persisting and graduating at a rate of 90 percent, and are active leaders both on their campuses and in the workforce. By 2020, the Posse Foundation will boast 6,000 alumni throughout the United States. In 2010, President Barack Obama named Posse as one of 10 nonprofits that would share his Nobel Peace Prize money.

In October 2007, Bial received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She earned master’s and doctoral degrees in education, with a focus on higher-education administration, planning and social policy, from Harvard University. At Brandeis she earned her bachelor’s degree in American and English Literature.

Jonathan Davis ’75, a former vice chair of the Brandeis Board of Trustees, has been re-elected to the board. He is the founder, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of the Davis Companies, a real estate development, investment and management firm based in Boston, which he founded in 1976. He oversees firm-wide operations, the development and execution of the fund’s investment strategy, and the management of the fund’s investment activities, and serves on the fund’s investment committee. Davis has more than 40 years of experience in real estate management and development.

Davis has received numerous awards. In 2000, he was chosen by Ernst & Young as New England Entrepreneur of the Year in the real estate and construction category. In 2003, he was honored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals with the Leader in Philanthropy award. In 2014, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay honored him with the Norman B. Leventhal/Edwin N. Sidman Leadership Award. In 2015, the Boston Preservation Alliance gave him its President’s Award for Excellence.

Davis also has been involved as a leader on the boards of directors and executive committees of several nonprofit organizations, including Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, where he serves as a board member and former board chair; the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston; and public radio station WBUR, where he serves as a board member. Davis graduated from Brandeis with a bachelor’s degree in politics.

Josh Kraft, the Nicholas President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, is in his 28th year of serving youth at the organization. Prior to accepting his current role in 2008, he was the founding executive director of BGCB’s Gerald and Darlene Jordan Club, in Chelsea, Massachusetts. For 15 years, he led that after-school program from the basement of a public housing development, until its current state-of-the-art building could be built.  

Kraft serves on the boards of Beaver Country Day School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Camp Harbor View Foundation and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. He is a co-chair of the Massachusetts Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes and serves as an overseer for Lasell College.

Concurrently, Kraft is the president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, where he oversees numerous initiatives, such as Game Change: The Patriots Anti-Violence Partnership, the Community MVP Awards and Celebrate Volunteerism.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College, and his master’s in education and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is the son of the late Brandeis trustee Myra Hiatt Kraft ’64, for whom the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program is named, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Lan Xue ’90, MA’91, a founding partner at Trivest Advisors, has 24 years of investment research experience in the Chinese financial markets. Before founding Trivest, she was the head of China research at Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, where she built the two top-ranked China research teams.

Lan was a pioneer in China’s equity research field, where for more than 15 years, as an individual analyst, she was consistently ranked one of the top three China analysts by global institutional investors.

Throughout her career, Lan has been actively involved in women’s career development, and she has been an avid supporter of the Teach for China program, a charity that aims to give every child the opportunity to dream and the skills to achieve their goals through a quality education.

At Brandeis, Lan established the Lan Xue ’90, MA’91, Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of her parents, Limin Zhang and Minglun Xue.

Lan received her BA in economics (magna cum laude) and MA in international economics and finance from Brandeis and Brandeis International Business School, respectively. She was a Wien Scholar and received the Carol Ann Steinfeld Memorial Prize in Economics upon graduation.