Chava Alberstein

Chava Alberstein is a popular Israeli folk singer-songwriter. She has recorded over 70 albums, singing in English, Hebrew and Yiddish. Born in Poland, Alberstein immigrated to Israel at the age of four and has enjoyed a five-decades-long career there. University President Ron Liebowitz likened her life story to that of Israel itself due to  the way both flourished after their births in the middle of the twentieth century. The Israel Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers of Musical Works awarded Alberstein the Lifetime Achievement Music Award; she already has two honorary degrees from Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Mary Sue Coleman

Mary Sue Coleman is the president of the Association of American Universities, a selective group of over 60 American and Canadian universities. Previously, she served as president of the Universities of Michigan and Iowa, earning a spot on Time magazine’s 2009 list of the 10 best college presidents in America. Before becoming a university administrator, Coleman was a biochemist. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Grinnell College and a doctorate degree in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Liebowitz hailed Coleman as “one of the most respected figures in American higher education.”

Areeman A. Hrabowski III

Freeman A. Hrabowski III has been a civil rights activist since age 12, when he joined the Children’s Crusade march in Birmingham, Alabama. Hrabowski was jailed as a young freedom fighter and visited by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is currently the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and was included in a 2009 Time magazine list of the 10 best college presidents. In his introduction, Liebowitz said Hrabowski has “fought hard to improve minority participation and performance in sciences, technology, engineering and math.”

Jay Ruderman ’88

As president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, Jay Ruderman advocates for inclusion and disability rights in America and Israel. The foundation focuses on disability activism and connecting the American Jewish community with Israel. Ruderman received his undergraduate education at Brandeis and his law degree from Boston University Law School. He previously worked as an assistant district attorney and as the leadership director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Israel.

Shira Ruderman

Shira Ruderman is the executive director of the Ruderman Family Foundation. A professional philanthropist, Ruderman is a chair of the Fulbright Foundation and was named one of the 100 most influential women in Israel, according to the commencement program. She earned both a BA and MA from Hebrew University and has an honorary degree from the University of Haifa. Ruderman was a commander in the intelligence unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. In his introduction, Liebowitz described Ruderman as “a prominent figure in Jewish communal leadership.”