Frederick M. Lawrence, a veteran civil rights lawyer who has served the last five years as dean of the George Washington University Law School, was this week named president of Brandeis University.
Lawrence, 54, will succeed President Jehuda Reinharz, who is joining the Mandel Foundation, an international philanthropy.
Lawrence on Jan. 1, 2011 will become the eight president of Brandeis University, a non-sectarian Jewish institution in Waltham, Mass., with a student body of 5,300.
“I am inspired by Brandeis’ history as an institution that embodies what makes America great,” Lawrence said this week. “The opportunity to lead Brandies is not merely a professional appointment. It is a calling.”
A native of Port Washington, L.I., he graduated from Yale Law School, taught at the Boston University School of Law, and worked as clerk to Judge Amalya Kearse of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, and as assistant U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York.
Lawrence assumes the Brandeis presidency during the national recession that has reduced the size of the school’s endowment; in an effort to increase its income, the school has signed a contract with the Sotheby’s auction house to lease Brandeis’ extensive Modern Art collection and keep the Rose Art Museum open.
Brandeis sparked controversy this spring when students and faculty members, many of them Jewish, publicly criticized the administration for inviting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to serve as a commencement speaker.