Highlights of the 2014 Technion International Board of Governors Meeting

June 30, 2014
By: Jennifer Frey

This year’s Technion International Board of Governors (BOG) annual meeting, held June 13 -18, 2014, offered something for everyone including awards, dedications, celebrations and a lineup of honored guests. The family of Henry Taub, a past ATS National President and legendary businessman who left an imprint on every aspect of Technion life, was on hand to celebrate his wife Marilyn as she received a Technion Honorary Doctorate. Alan Dershowitz, a prominent lawyer and outspoken supporter of Israel who was also bestowed with a doctorate, addressed the BOG twice, and General (Res.) Amos Horev was feted for his Birthday.

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Prof. Alan Dershowitz addresses the Technion International Board of Governors.

Some 50 BOG members, supporters and friends, participated in the five-day gathering, which opened with an event moderated by American Technion Society (ATS) National President Scott Leemaster to highlight some of the vibrant new faculty recruits. In a session called “Why I Chose Technion,” Professors Roy Kishony, Keren Censor-Hillel and Moran Bercovici discussed why they left Harvard, MIT and Stanford, respectively, to teach at the Technion.

Technion faculty and students were honored at a number of awards ceremonies. Sixteen Technion professors spanning 10 faculties received honors from the ATS supported Uzi and Michal Halevy Award for Innovative Applied Engineering, the Henry Taub Prizes for Academic Excellence, and the Hilda and Hershel Rich Technion Innovation Awards. Exceptional undergraduate researchers were recognized by the ATS supported Norman and Barbara Seiden Family Prizes for Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Student Projects in Optoelectronic, Microelectronics and Nanosciences. And graduate students with demonstrated passion, academic drive and talent met with Leonard Sherman, Technion Guardian and former ATS President, during his annual luncheon to bestow The Leonard and Diane Sherman Interdisciplinary Graduate School Fellowships.

Among the traditional BOG highlights was the awarding of the Technion honorary degrees. Marilyn Taub’s children — Ira and his wife Shelley, Stephen with his wife Benay, Judy and her husband Ronald Gold — plus the grandchildren, joined Marilyn (“Mickey”) as she received an Honorary Doctorate for four decades of Technion support, which has been a key factor in the university’s rise to international prominence. She and her late husband Henry, the longest serving President of the Technion International Board of Governors, have underwritten transformational projects such as The Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center, which is home to the world-renowned Technion Faculty of Computer Science. Technion Guardians, they have also supported students and faculty through The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation Leaders in Science and Technology Faculty Recruitment Program and numerous other scholarships, fellowships, funds and research centers.

Albert Sweet, an active member of the ATS Board of the Southern California Chapter and a Technion Guardian, was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his vision, creativity and decades-long commitment to the Technion and Israel. Among his many projects, Al established the Albert and Janey Sweet Experimental Testing Laboratory in the David and Janet Polak Center for Cancer Research and Vascular biology and has provided scholarships and fellowships that have given hundreds of students a Technion education. He is currently supporting Nobel Laureate Distinguished Professor Aaron Ciechanover in his research project titled “Targeting Multiple Myeloma.”

Other recipients included Prof. Dershowitz, a constitutional and criminal law scholar, recently retired from Harvard Law School. He spoke on behalf of the recipients at the Honorary Doctorate conferment Ceremony and was the guest speaker at a luncheon.

A robust group of six ATS supporters received Technion Honorary Fellowships. They include:

Aron Ain, immediate past president of the ATS New England Region, graduate of the national 21st Century Leadership Development Program and founder of the Aron and Susan Ain Endowed Scholarship Fund

Sondra Berk, a member of both the San Diego Chapter Board and of the National Board of Regents, co-chair (with her husband Robert) for the summer internship program for Technion students and a supporter of the San Diego Chapter Dormitory Project, among others.

Rod Feldman, immediate past president of the New York Metropolitan Region, current chairman, member of the National Board of Directors and Chair of the national 21st Century Leadership Development Program.

Uzi Halevy, Technion alumnus and Technion Guardian, member of the national Board of Directors and the Technion International Board of Governors, founder of the Uzi and Michal Halevy Fund for Innovative Applied Engineering Research, and a tireless Technion promoter who has raised money for Technion projects and helped jumpstart the newly created Natural Gas and Petroleum Engineering Graduate Program. Uzi spoke on behalf of the recipients.

Naomi Weiss Newman, President of the Northwest Chapter, graduate of the national 21st Century Leadership Development Program, and a recognized leader in Seattle’s Jewish community and the ATS, who led the efforts to build an active regional board in the Pacific Northwest.

Andy Shapiro, a Technion Guardian who has actively solicited other supporters, has taken part in several ATS Missions, serves on the Philadelphia Chapter Board, participates in policymaking and is an active Technion ambassador wherever he travels.

The gathering was punctuated by three long-awaited dedications. In 2009, legendary ATS supporter D. Dan Kahn, now deceased, a past president of the Detroit Chapter and a member of the national board and the BOG, pledged one of the largest gifts ever made to the ATS. The fruit of his vision, the D. Dan and Betty Kahn Mechanical Engineering Building, was dedicated in a moving ceremony that included family members, friends and fellow ATS supporters, followed by a festive lunch. Already, researchers in the Kahn Building are developing cutting-edge projects including 3D printers, medical robots, wind energy projects and portable lab-on-a-chip technology. At the same time, the Farkas and Stone families of California dedicated specific projects within the Kahn Building: the Dr. Jordan Mark Farkas Computer Classroom, Farkas Family Student Learning Center, Samuel and Bessie Farkas Courtyard and Beatrice Farkas Stone Dean’s Office and Secretariat.

In addition to celebrating Marilyn’s Honorary Doctorate, the Taub family was thrilled to dedicate an apartment in the Morton and Beverley Rechler Family Foundation Dormitory of the Stanley Shalom Zielony Graduate Student Village. The apartment was gifted by Ira and Shelly Taub and their children Sydney, Alex and Julia, in honor of Shelley’s parents Roslyn and Leonard Rosen. Affordable and spacious on-campus housing is desperately needed to accommodate graduate students, who are often married and have families.

Participants also attended the dedication of the Allen and Jewel Prince Molecular Immunology Research Laboratory Complex in the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine Building. The complex, supported by Allen and Jewel Prince of the ATS South Palm Beach Chapter, will house state-of-art laboratories focused to research on cancer, genetics, inflammatory diseases, aging and allergies.

Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Horev speaks during a festive celebration of his 90th birthday.

The BOG concluded with a festive 90th birthday celebration for Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Horev. In the course of his long and distinguished military career, Gen. Horev was among those responsible for securing Israel’s statehood in the War of Independence and ensuring its survival during battles of the 1956 Sinai Campaign and the 1967 Six Day War. He served as President of the Technion from 1973-1982, and is currently Chairman of the Israel Technion Society and Deputy Chairman of the Technion International Board of Governors.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell NYC Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $1.95 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of chapters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.