Abram Leon Sachar was the first president of Brandeis University and played a significant role in its founding in 1948. Sachar envisioned Brandeis University as a nonsectarian institution serving as the American Jewish community's corporate contribution to higher education. During the twenty years of Sachar's presidency, Brandeis rose to high ranking among institutions of higher learning and built up its campus, faculty, and student body. Following his resignation as university president in 1968, Sachar was given the title of Chancellor, and later, Chancellor Emeritus. Both positions were created specifically for Sachar and allowed him to continue an active role in university affairs until his death in 1993. Abram Sachar and his wife, Thelma, are buried near the Sachar International Center at Brandeis University.
Brandeis University, named after Justice Louis Brandeis, was founded in 1948 on the grounds of the former Middlesex University. The organization of the university was originally the project of the Albert Einstein Foundation, but internal conflict eventually led Einstein and other early organizers to break with the project. Following this division in 1947, the university founding committee, now under the name of the Brandeis Foundation, continued with plans to develop a campus, faculty, and administration for a new, Jewish-sponsored university.
The Brandeis University Fellows were founded early in President Sachar's tenure (1951) with the purpose of acting as the university's "foster alumni." Frank Weil served as its first chairman, Dr. Selman Waksman as its first official member. Other notable members have included Joan Crawford, Oscar Handlin, and Senators Howard Metzenbaum and Abraham Ribicoff. Today, the Fellows consist of more than 250 nationally and professionally prominent individuals who lend their expertise and advice to Brandeis, serve on university advisory boards, act as goodwill ambassadors, recruit and raise funds for the university, and make financial gifts to the university. The Fellows holds a number of events, meetings, and programs, including their annual meeting, which is held at Brandeis during commencement weekend.