What does it mean to be Brandeis University

This will be my last semester as an undergrad at Brandeis University.

This semester, I’m taking a course on Louis Brandeis with Professor Gaskins. (10-11am, MWTh. It’s not too late to sign up!). What a fitting way to go out with a bang.

We’re named after this amazing guy, Louis Dembitz Brandeis. We really don’t even know much about him.

Who was this man, Louis Brandeis? What did he stand for? How did he operate? What should a University named after this man look like?

As I take this course, I’ll try to write about things I learn that might serve as the beginnings of answers to these questions.

Here goes:

So Louis Brandeis was really fucking cool. He joined Harvard Law School at age 18, totally skipping an undergraduate education. He graduated a year early, such that the Harvard Board of Trustees had to vote to waive their law that you had to be at least 21 years old to graduate. He has the highest grades at the Harvard Law Review, ever.

Brandeis was no campus activist. He spent his time in school pursuing academic excellence, and his free time on tutoring others to pay his way through. If you want to model your time in school after Brandeis you’d have to skip college, but also you’d focus on grades on not pursue campus activism.

In a sense, Harvard is Brandeis University. He loved that place. He helped create the Law Review, the alumni association, and spent a ton of time and money building up the Law School. We have to grapple with that.

School in Brandeis’ experience also meant salons with professors, formal intellectual debates, and intense networking.

In a sense, Brandeis University reflects his ideals pretty well: we can agree that our greatest asset is our top-notch academics. The professors here are impressive, friendly, and helpful. At University, like we said, Brandeis focused and excelled at academics above all else.

One more thing: Brandeis “considered it immoral for lawyers to function as guys for hire, particularly, when their employers were corporations attempting to affect the political process.” That’s something for all of us, from students to Trustees, to remember.


One thought on “What does it mean to be Brandeis University”

Comments are closed.