“The Opportunity to Teach Bright, Idealistic Students: ‘Celebrating the Retirement of the Faculty

“The Opportunity to Teach Bright, Idealistic Students: ‘Celebrating the Retirement of the Faculty

June 23, 2022

At the end of June, 13 Brandeis professors will officially retire from teaching.

Her disciplines include astrophysics, international law, Chinese language teaching, and music performance and composition. Together they spent 471 years introducing generations of students to the liberal arts. Her honors include a Pulitzer Prize, Fulbright Fellowships, Guggenheim Fellowships, a Naumberg Chamber Music Prize, and many other top awards. They have published hundreds of articles and many books.

In addition, they were Brandeisian in their commitment to teaching and mentoring and in the satisfaction they derived from these activities.

“I’ve found my 55 years as a teacher to be remarkably fulfilling,” said sociology professor Gordon Fellman. “I’ve had an endless stream of extraordinarily bright, challenging, eager, and decent students who spice up my Brandeis career.”

“The most important aspect of my Brandeis experience has been the opportunity to teach intelligent, idealistic students, whether or not their careers have led to conventional legal practice,” said Richard Gaskins, Proskauer Chair in Law and Social Affairs.

Judith Eisenberg, second violinist in the Lydian String Quartet, said: “Having a home – both a place and an audience – for a string quartet is a rare and priceless treasure. To have it at a liberal arts institution — especially at Brandeis — is doubly blessed.”

These are the colleagues who retired this year:


Craig BlockersProfessor of Physics

Joined the university in 1985. During his Brandeis career, Blocker allowed many undergraduate and graduate students to participate in important particle physics experiments, including those that discovered the top quark and the Higgs boson.

Eric Chafethe Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Music

Joined the university in 1982. A specialist in the music of JS Bach, Richard Wagner and Claudio Monteverdi, Chafe also published books on the 17th-century violinist and composer Heinrich Biber. He has won the American Musicological Society’s Otto Kinkeldey Award and the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Award.

Brian Donahue ’82GSAS MA’93, PhD’95, Associate Professor of American Environmental Studies

Joined the university in 1997. Along with biology professor Dan Perlman and Laura Goldin, professor emeritus of environmental studies, Donahue grew the Environmental Studies program into a thriving major and created the Environmental Field Semester, which he taught four times.

Judith EisenbergProfessor of Music Practice

At the university since 1980. Eisenberg is the founder and second violinist of the Lydian String Quartet, which has won the Naumburg Chamber Music Prize and other international awards. She has premiered new works, performed internationally, recorded works from the Baroque to the present, and founded and directed MusicUnitesUS, which brings musicians from around the world to Brandeis for campus residencies. In the fall, she will work full-time at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music.

Gordon FellmanProfessor of Sociology

Joined the university in 1964. Fellman received the Louis Dembitz Brandeis Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the American Sociological Association’s Robin M. Williams Jr. Award for Distinguished Contributions to Scholarship, Teaching and Service. He is currently updating his 1998 book Rambo and the Dalai Lama: The Compulsion to Win and Its Threat to Human Survival.

YufengProfessor of Chinese

Joined the university in 2015. Feng, who directed the Chinese language program, invented a new pedagogy of teaching Chinese; established a master’s program in teaching Chinese at the college level; and designed a unique Classical Chinese course that helped students translate ancient Chinese texts into cursive or flowing script.

Richard Gaskinsthe Proskauer chair for law and social affairs

Joined the university in 1994. Gaskins led the multidisciplinary Legal Studies Program and created and directed study abroad programs in The Hague that focused on human rights and international law. He received the Lerman-Neubauer ’69 Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring.

Ann Olga Koloski-OstrowProfessor of Ancient Studies

Joined the university in 1985. Koloski-Ostrow, holder of the Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Endowed Chair in the Humanities, founded the Brandeis master’s program in Ancient Greek and Romance Studies and has received teaching awards from the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society for Classical Studies.

Eileen McNamaraProfessor of Journalism Practice

Joined the university in 1995. A veteran Boston Globe reporter and columnist, McNamara won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Her Globe columns on clergy sex abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston helped prompt the newspaper’s Spotlight team to conduct an international investigation to draw attention to the problem.

Joseph ReimerMA’70, Associate Professor of Jewish Education

Joined the university in 1986. Reimer taught at Hornstein and Educatiorograms and helped fund and build Genesis, the first Jewish experience program for high school students on an American college campus. He headed the Institute for Informal Jewish Education for 11 years. In August, Brandeis University Press will publish his book, Making Shabbat: Celebrating and Learning at American Jewish Summer Camps.

Nancy ScottProfessor of Fine Arts

Joined the university in 1978. Scott is the author of Georgia O’Keeffe. She was also involved in the Turner’s Modern World exhibition at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is writing the forthcoming anthology, Chronicling Lost Legacies, about the 19th-century woman who bought JMW Turner’s painting The Slave Ship.

Cheryl WalkerAssociate Professor of Classical Studies

Joined the university in 1979. Walker was awarded the 1992 Louis Dembitz Brandeis Prize for Excellence in Teaching. She is a member of the New England Ancient Historians Colloquium, the Classical Association of New England, and the Society for Classical Studies.

John WardleProfessor of Astrophysics

Joined the university in 1972. Wardle, who has published 238 articles over his career, developed new methods for measuring the polarization of cosmic radio waves. He is a member of the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration. In 1996, Wardle was awarded a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

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