Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence to step down

Marcy Oster

BOSTON (JTA) — Brandeis University President Frederick Lawrence will step down from his position effective at the end of the current academic year.

Lawrence, who made the announcement on Friday, is one of the country’s leading experts in civil rights and the eighth president of Brandeis University. He currently is serving his fifth academic year as president.

Brandeis, founded in 1948 and now one of the country’s leading research institutions, is the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university in the country.

In a letter to the university community, Lawrence said he was “tremendously proud of the ways Brandeis has grown and thrived” during his tenure.

“Brandeis is a strong, vital, and dynamic institution, and I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside so many extraordinary students, faculty, alumni, staff, parents, and friends of the university,” Lawrence said in his letter.

Lawrence said he plans to return to full-time scholarship and teaching as a senior research scholar at Yale Law School. Prior to becoming president of Brandeis, Lawrence had served as dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School, from 2005 to 2010.

In a letter to the university, Perry Traquina, chairman of the Brandeis Board of Trustees, thanked Lawrence, saying he “has worked tirelessly to move our university forward … including making significant progress in balancing the university’s budget, a record endowment, the fundraising of $225 million in gifts, and a 35 percent increase in applications under his stewardship. Fred has also brought an unbridled energy and enthusiasm to our campus, and our students have benefited greatly from Fred’s hands-on approach to their education and student experience.”

Lawrence also has been credited with presiding over the reopening of the Rose Art Museum on the Brandeis campus, putting an end to a bruising controversy over whether to sell its unique and valuable collection of modern art.

The trustees said they will start an international search to find a new president. Lisa Lynch, the university’s current provost, has been appointed to serve as interim president, effective July 1, 2015. Lynch, an internationally renowned economist is the former dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.