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Evelyn Handler, 78; president shaped new Brandeis identity

As if anticipating the challenges ahead, just before Evelyn Handler was installed as the first female president of Brandeis University in 1983, she served notice she would be standing her ground in any disputes.

“I don’t relent, I don’t give up,’’ she told the Globe in October of that year. “It’s more a strength than a weakness. . . . You don’t get done what an institution needs if you give up the fight too early.’’

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