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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

64 years ago, Univ celebrated founding

Published: October 12, 2012
Section: Features

This past week marked the 64th anniversary of Brandeis University’s founding. When originally founded on Oct. 7, 1948, President Abram Sachar delivered a speech at Symphony Hall in Boston, accepting his position of office at the newly founded university. In his speech, Sachar focused on the birth of Brandeis, with its “procession, which includes delegation from hundreds of distinguished centers of learning was a thrilling sight, in it’s color, it’s pageantry, it’s symbolism.”

Sachar did not appear to be anxious about the challenge of creating what is today a renowned institution. Rather, he said in his speech, “Fortunately there is so much goodwill for the success of Brandeis University, so much loyal cooperation, that there are few fears and few misgivings as we go forward.” Formed in the same year that the Israeli state came into being, the process was both historic and exciting.

Sachar went on to state, “This is the first corporate responsibility of the Jewish people for the maintenance and development of a great non-sectarian institution of higher learning.” Sachar mentioned the importance in the timing of Brandeis University and the importance for the founding as a group of people.

He believed, “The timing of this pioneering effort is significant and demonstrates the strength upon which we all rely. Emerging from the most tragic era of a history laden with sorrow, the Jewish people demonstrate it’s extraordinary vitality by demonstrating no moratorium on creative effort.”

The traditions that Sachar outlined in his acceptance speech are still in place, if not even more amplified today, 64 years later. The first guideline that Sacher outlined was, “This will be an institution of quality where the integrity of learning, of research, of writing, of teaching will never be compromised.”

Sachar states in the first guideline the importance of having a wide variety of subjects offered at a university. He stated his second vision for Brandeis with, “This will be a school of the spirit—a school in which the temper and climate of the mind will take precedence over the acquisition of skill and the development of facile talent.”

Sachar’s third vision for Brandeis stated, “This will be an institution where opportunity is offered to all, regardless of race or color. Neither a student body nor faculty must ever be chosen on the basis of population proportions or genetic or ethnic or economic distribution.”

Sixty-four years ago, Sachar wrote in his speech about his vision of what Brandeis would eventually be: “An institution which is built on such principles—on the integrity of learning and research, on the passion for service, on the right of equal opportunity—only such an institution will be worthy of the intellectual and spiritual mantle of Louis Dembitz Brandeis whose name it is to bear.”

As the anniversary of the university passes, Brandeis continues to build off of the foundation of its forbearers.