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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

University celebrates Louis’ 150th birthday

Published: November 17, 2006
Section: News

On Monday, November 13th the Brandeis community celebrated the 150th anniversary of Louis D. Brandeiss birthday. The Louis D. Brandeis Birthday Committee, chaired by President Jehuda Reinharz, organized a night featuring keynote speaker Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, as well as the unveiling of the recently-donated original Andy Warhol Louis Brandeis (1980) painting of Louis D. Brandeis.

Amidst the hordes of students, alumni, faculty, and staff crowding in Shapiro Atrium at 7:30 p.m. to access the free goodie bags and t-shirts promised to the first 200 guests, the masses crowded to claim free food and appetizers, making it virtually impossible to pass through the Atrium.

I arrived at 7:30 and I could hardly weave my way through the crowds. I ended up leaving after 15 minutes, stated Carrie Brintz 08.

President Reinharz wrote to The Hoot, I was delighted to celebrate the 150th birthday of Louis D. Brandeis with so many Brandeis students and faculty. It was a privilege to have as our guest, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, as well as the current President and CEO of SBLI, which was founded by Louis Brandeis.

Reinharz who spoke at the Brandeis jubilee, highlighted the recently-founded Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice. This fund is sponsoring a new biography of Justice Brandeis to be written by Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis, and full-time Hornstein Program director. The intention is that this book, upon its completion in several years, will be distributed to incoming first-year students to better educate them about Brandeis and its namesake.

Reinharz later introduced speaker Justice Marshall as a personal hero of his.

Marshall, known as an advocate for civil rights in her native-country of South Africa, is further known for her furthering of civil rights in the United States because of her November 2003 verdict legally justifying gay marriage.

Marshall was awarded an honorary degree by Brandeis University at last years commencement where she also delivered the keynote address.

Justice Marshall spoke of Louis Brandeiss accomplishments and spoke of his insights and prescience on issues of privacy and free speech as well as education.

She quoted him on his views of education, the right to be let alone, and the essential government responsibility to uphold free speech and enable public discussion.

Marshall discussed Brandeiss accomplishments not just as Supreme Court Justice, but as the first Jewish-American serving on the Supreme Court. She detailed how Brandeis did not try to hide his Judaism or involvement in the Zionist movement.

Marshall herself is the first female Chief Justice of the state's highest court since its inception in 1692.
In honor of the evening, Shapiro Campus Center Atrium housed a checkerboard dance floor wherein some Brandeis Swing Club members as well as students and alumni danced to the live swing music of the White Heat Orchestra following Marshalls speech.

Guests also had the opportunity to have their picture taken with Louis Brandeis. Interested guests took their picture against a green screen and Brandeis was digitally placed with them and then they were given a print-out of the picture.

Earlier in the day, Professors Gaskins and Teuber hosted a Brandeis symposium on privacy rights with special guests, former New York Times columnist Tony Lewis and noted Constitutional Law attorney Floyd Abrams.

Reinharz commented, All in all, it was a great day.