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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Ken Kaiserman, developer and trustee, dies at 73

Published: August 24, 2012
Section: News

Trustee Ken Kaiserman ’64, a devoted alumnus who established several endowed scholarships and engaged with young alumni, died from cancer on Aug. 19. He was 73.

Having first joined the Board of Trustees as an alumni-term trustee in 1995, Kaiserman served in the Alumni Association for more than 35 years, according to senior vice president for institutional advancement Nancy Winship.

“Ken’s involvement, however, went beyond fulfilling the responsibilities of a certain position,” Winship said. He extended a helping hand to many young alumni and shared his business acumen with them.” He was also involved in the Strategic Planning Task Force for Alumni giving and the Alumni Annual Fund leadership cabinet.

Describing Kaiserman as gentle and gracious, Winship pointed to the numerous contributions he bestowed to the university, including the Kenneth S. Kaiserman ’60 Endowed Scholarship, the Susan and Ken Kaiserman Endowed Scholarship, and the Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Endowed Chair, presently held by Professor Edward Kaplan (FREN). As vice president of the alumni club of Philadelphia, Kaiserman further hosted an event welcoming President Fred Lawrence in 2011.

President Fred Lawrence will speak at the memorial service for Kaiserman, held Friday at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, David Nathan, director of communications for alumni and development said.

Following an event at the Brandeis House in New York City, Kaiserman developed a close bond to fellow alumnus Diony Elias ’04. Elias said he drew motivation from Kaiserman a year and a half later to move to Philadelphia and become an entrepreneur.

During their weekly discussions, Elias said “We discussed real estate, we discussed art, we discussed family, we discussed travel, we discussed Brandeis.” Having developed a close bond to Kaiserman, Elias describes him as a “friend, a mentor, and a teacher,” asserting “He taught me to think big and to dream big.”

Beyond his generosity to the university and personal attributes, Kaiserman further served as president of the family business, Kaiserman Co., which is involved in the acquisition, development and management of real estate.

Kaiserman managed to incorporate his knowledge and expertise pertaining to real estate in his role within the Brandeis community, according to Winship.

“His familiarity with construction was a real asset as he helped coordinate the recent renovations at Brandeis House, the university’s meeting place for alumni and friends in New York,” she said.

During his time as a student at Brandeis, Kaiserman majored in theater arts and belonged to the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Following graduation, he continued to nourish his fascination with the theater, becoming one of the leading patrons of the arts in Philadelphia.

“His position as a pillar in the business, arts and Jewish communities of Philadelphia reflected well on the education he received here and helped to raise Brandeis’ stature in the region,” Winship said.

Kaiserman is survived by his wife, his brother Ron, his two daughters Amanda and Laura, his sister Constance, and his grandson Quentin.