Frederick M. Lawrence, dean of the George Washington University Law School and one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights and free expression, has been named president of Brandeis University.
Lawrence, 54, will become the university’s eighth president on Jan. 1, 2011. He will succeed President Jehuda Reinharz, who announced last October that he was stepping down after more than 16 years as president. Reinharz will join the Mandel Foundation, an international philanthropy, as president when he departs Brandeis.
During his long tenure, Reinharz has overseen the physical redevelopment of the Brandeis campus, raised $1.2 billion for the university, substantially increased the diversity of the student body, and made it possible for any qualified student seeking a Brandeis education to access financial aid. He has also significantly increased the number of endowed chairs for faculty, and opened 10 new research centers and institutes, including the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life; the Crown Center for Middle East Studies; and the Mandel Center for Jewish Education.
The board of trustees unanimously approved the selection of Lawrence after a seven-month search, that involved extensive outreach to students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors.
His appointment represents a New England homecoming of sorts for Lawrence. He received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., and a law degree in 1980 from Yale Law School in New Haven. From 1988 to 2005, he taught at the Boston University School of Law and served as an associate dean.
Lawrence became dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School in August 2005.
Lawrence serves on the board of directors of the Anti-Defamation League, and from 2003 to 2006, he served as chair of the ADL’s National Legal Affairs Committee.