Frederick Lawrence: Civil rights scholar named new Brandeis president

GW Law School Dean Frederick Lawrence.
With endowment falling and various controversies afoot, GW Law School dean will look to bolster financial aid.

Growing up in Port Washington, L.I., Frederick Lawrence thought he’d have a career in politics or teaching.

But in high school, animated by the civil rights and anti-war movements and inspired by the role attorneys were playing as agents “of social change,” he decided to become a lawyer.

Some four decades later, after working as a civil rights lawyer and law school dean, Lawrence is taking a position at the highest rung of academia.

Lawrence, 55, was last week named the next president of Brandeis University, the non-sectarian school under Jewish auspices in Waltham, Mass. On Jan. 1, 2011 he will succeed Jehuda Reinharz, who will become head of the Mandel Foundation, an international philanthropy.

Since 2005 Lawrence has served as dean of the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C.

He comes to Brandeis at a time when the school is under fire from several directions. In recent years Brandeis has drawn criticism for the controversy over last spring’s invitation to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to serve as commencement speaker; for its announced plans to sell its extensive modern art collection and close its Rose Art Museum because of a growing deficit; for its “team-taught” Middle East studies class that features Israeli, Egyptian and Palestinian instructors…READ MORE

Civil rights scholar named new Brandeis president

Source: Boston Globe, 7-8-10

Brandeis University today named Frederick M. Lawrence, dean of George Washington Law School and a former Boston University law professor, as its eighth president.


Lawrence, a prominent civil rights scholar who once headed the national legal affairs committee of the Anti-Defamation League, will succeed long-time president Jehuda Reinharz in January when he steps down after 16 years to lead a Jewish foundation focused on leadership education.Lawrence will come to the Waltham school amid financial upheaval as the small research college with Jewish roots and a strong liberal arts focus works to position itself for the future and raise its profile as a world-class institution.

“This is a compelling opportunity for me to be a part of furthering and building a research college, a liberal arts college that is an anchor for a great university,” Lawrence said in a phone interview. “As a non-sectarian school with deep roots in the Jewish community, Brandeis pulls together various strands of my life in a way that is unique in higher education.”…READ MORE

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