A $30M Commitment to Technion

October 11, 2011
By: Kevin Hattori

The American Technion Society (ATS) has announced that it has received a $30 million commitment from the estate of the late Henry Taub and The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation. $25 million of the commitment will be used for the “Leaders in Science and Technology” faculty recruitment program at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and $5 million will go to the university’s Faculty of Computer Science.

The gifts will create an endowment for the Leaders in Science program’s future and provide support for its annual expenses over the next 10 years. Established by the Taubs with $10 million in 2002, the program provides the university with the resources and flexibility to attract a cadre of internationally renowned scientific leaders to serve as senior faculty. It also allows the Technion to be competitive in recruiting and retaining exceptional new faculty members in cutting edge fields and to replace those who are retiring.

Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center

The Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center

Since the fall of 2002, 41 new faculty members have joined the Technion through the auspices of this program. Among their many accomplishments are the graduation of 81 postgraduate students, 48 invention disclosures for patents, and research grants in excess of $23 million.

An example of the exceptional talent the Technion has been able to attract is Associate Professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Technion Faculty of Biomedical Engineering. A world leader in tissue engineering (the growing of new human tissue for organ replacement purposes), she was recruited to the Technion after conducting postdoctoral training and research at MIT. Prof. Levenberg’s many academic accolades include Scientific American’s list of top 50 scientists, the Krill Prize for Excellence in Scientific Research, and the France-Israel Foundation Prize for scientific excellence in stem cell research.

One of the senior faculty members recruited to the Technion under the auspices of the program is Professor Israel Vlodavsky of the Faculty of Medicine. The holder of the Henry and Marilyn Taub Chair in Medicine, Prof. Vlodavsky is a recognized expert on heparanase, a unique human enzyme that plays a key role in cancer progression. His research has helped pave the way for the development of anti-heparanase agents that are expected to play an important role in the fight against cancer. The recipient of a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, and the author of 345 scientific papers and review articles, he has given 130 invited lectures at international conferences, and is the holder of 24 patents and 22 pending patent applications.

“This gift is an investment in the future of the Technion, and Israel,” said Marilyn Taub. “The Leaders in Science program was so important to Henry. He wanted to ensure that the university is able to continue its historic role as innovator and educator for future generations of engineers and scientists who will shape Israel’s future.”

The $5 million for Computer Science will create an endowment to replace and upgrade computer equipment, ensuring that faculty and students have continuing access to the state-of-the-art technology needed to meet the fast-changing challenges of educating top-level computer scientists. The Faculty of Computer Science – recently ranked 15th out of 500 universities worldwide by China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University – was a primary focus of Mr. Taub’s philanthropy at the Technion for nearly 40 years.

“Henry Taub possessed leadership, character and generosity that are unmatched in my experience, and have contributed immeasurably – beyond any dollar amount – to the development of this university,” said Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavie. “This gift gives the Technion the ability and means to attract the highest caliber faculty, and ensures that the world-shaping research already being conducted at the Technion continues uninterrupted.”

An ardent and beloved supporter of the Technion and of the ATS, Henry Taub passed away earlier this year. A legendary businessman who founded Fortune 500 Company Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and led it as president and chairman for many years, he provided wise and visionary leadership to the Technion and the ATS. He held the most influential offices and was recognized with the highest honors during his decades of leadership and support. He served as ATS national president from 1974 to 1976, and chair of the Technion International Board of Governors from 1990 to 2003, a period of dramatic expansion and scientific advancement at the university. At the time of his passing, Mr. Taub held the title of Honorary Chair of the Technion International Board of Governors, and was a member of both the ATS National Board of Directors and New York Metropolitan Region Board.

“This gift is testament to Henry Taub’s exemplary generosity and brilliant leadership,” said Melvyn H. Bloom, executive vice president of the American Technion Society. “I am honored to have worked closely with Henry and his family over the years, and we as an organization are privileged to have known him, and to have benefited from his wisdom, kindness and devotion.”

Past gifts from the Taubs to the Technion established the Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center, a central campus landmark and home to the Faculty of Computer Science; the Henry and Marilyn Taub Nobel Laureates Research Fund; and the Henry Taub Prize for Excellence in Research. One of their earliest gifts – made in honor of Henry’s parents Morris and Sylvia Taub – was for the Technion’s first computer center. The Taubs also set up Technion scholarship funds named after each of their 10 grandchildren, and a housing fund for Technion faculty members.

“This extraordinary gift is a strong affirmation of the Taubs’ longstanding support to the Technion, Israel and the world,” said ATS President Joel Rothman. “The foresight and dedication of donors like the Taubs enable the Technion to maintain its place at the forefront of world scientific research.”

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is consistently ranked among the world’s leading science and technology universities. Home to three of the five winners of the Nobel Prize in science, the Technion commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in computer science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy, water-resource management, medicine, drug development, and aerospace. Headquartered in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) promotes scientific and technological research and education at the Technion.