2017 Technion Board of Governors Highlights

A Meeting of Many Things: Exploring the Brain, Securing the Borders, Showing off Some Dance Moves

Each year, Technion friends and supporters gather at the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting to conduct organizational business, hear from Technion scientists about their latest breakthroughs, honor our outstanding Technion and American Technion Society communities, and recharge. This year’s meeting offered something for everyone, and was a great success.

The program was diverse, complete with high-level panel discussions and distinguished speakers and participants from all over the world, as befits the Technion’s growing global stature. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Technion of Things”(ToT) — (a pun on the “Internet of Things” IoT)— i.e., connected digital innovations that impact our everyday lives. Professor Deborah Estrin, founder of the Health Tech Hub in the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, moderated a panel discussion on the “Technion of Things” that included Technion faculty and a former Google executive.

Other events included “Shabbat Science,” featuring Technion students from various disciplines discussing the Technion, Israel and the world in the 21st century. Assistant Professor Asya Rolls received the Adelis Foundation Brain Research Award, followed by a panel discussion on new discoveries in brain research. And Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin closed the six-day meeting with a presentation titled: “Israel’s National Security 2017: The Balance Sheet.”

There were lighter moments as well. Many attendees spent a morning milling about at the Student Project Fair, where students displayed their latest inventions. Participants visited a site on the border between Israel and Jordan, where they learned of the heroic defense of Kibbutz Old Gesher, visited the original fighters’ bunker and did Israeli folk dancing.

But perhaps the most meaningful moments were those in which our fellow supporters were recognized for their extraordinary commitment to Israel and the Technion. (SEE EVEN MORE HIGHLIGHTS IN OUR OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PHOTO ALBUM)

Fulfilling the Technion Vision

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 was devoted to recognizing committed Technion supporters, who have done so much to change the landscape of the university. In a special tribute to several supporters titled “Technion, Israel & the World in the 21st Century,” Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie said: “There are friends and donors here from South Africa, Japan, Canada, the United States and Israel, all of whom have one common denominator: the aspiration to tikkun olam. We express our thanks to you today. By giving of yourselves, you make the world a better place.”

(l to r) Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie, Benay Taub, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Horev, Steven Taub, Marilyn “Mickey” Taub, and Ira and Shelley Taub

Among the tribute’s honorees, The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation was recognized for its unwavering support for over half a century. In partnership with her late husband, Henry, who served as ATS National President from 1974-1976, Marilyn Taub has been a key factor in the Technion’s rise to international prominence with such transformational gifts as The Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center and The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation Leaders in Science and Technology Faculty Recruitment Program.

While on campus, they dedicated the Taub Family Terrace on the second floor of the Henry and Marilyn Taub and Family Science and Technology Center. President Lavie, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Horev, Dean of Computer Science Professor Irad Yavneh, and Steven Taub addressed the gathering. “My parents, Henry and Marilyn Taub, began their support of the Technion 50 years ago with the understanding that a leading science and engineering institution was a vital need for the State of Israel,” said Steven Taub. “My brother Ira, my sister Judy and I are proud to be a second generation of Technion supporters,” he added.

Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder were feted at the tribute and during the official opening and dedication of their Undergraduate dormitory in the Student Village. The World Jewish Congress President and his wife are staunch advocates for Israel and longtime ATS leaders. Avi Balashnikov, their representative in Israel, participated in the dedication of the Ronald S. and Jo Carole Lauder Student Dormitory, in the presence of Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett and Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav. “The new dormitories, built through the donation of the Lauder family, will enable students to invest their time and energy in their demanding studies,” said Minister Bennett.

The Mauerberger Foundation Fund (MFF) used the occasion of the tribute to announce the Mauerberger Foundation Fund Prize for Significant Technologies for Africa, intended to strengthen the academic ties and exchange of information between Israel and Africa, and to harness new technologies for the benefit of humanity. Dr. Derek Yach, CEO of the Vitality Institute and friend of the ATS, serves as Deputy Chair of the MFF.

Also honored during the special tribute were: Dr. Hiroshi Fujiwara, Canadian supporters Dr. Andrew and Aviva Goldenberg, and the Sagol family.

The Awarding of Honorary Doctorates

Probably the most anticipated awards ceremonies of the BOG meeting are those for the Technion Honorary Doctorate and Honorary Fellowship. Technion President Lavie and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Professor Rafael Reif spoke at the Honorary Doctorate Conferment Ceremony on June 12, emphasizing the critical role that universities play in making the world a better place. “As we navigate uncertainty around the globe, it is useful to remind ourselves and the world that universities can be a powerful, steady force for good,” said MIT President Reif, who was also a 2017 Honorary Doctorate recipient.

ATS Philadelphia Chapter supporter and former ARAMARK Chairman Joseph Neubauer was among the elite group of individuals to receive an Honorary Doctorate. A Technion Guardian, Joe has supported numerous Technion projects for students and faculty including: the Neubauer Family Foundation Fund for the Recruitment of Minority Faculty Members; the Neubauer American Study Abroad Program; and the Neubauer Doctoral Fellowship Fund for Minority Students. The citation for his Honorary Doctorate recognized him for “professional achievements in the business world . . . contribution to many American and Israeli not-for-profit organizations. . . and being a catalyst for excellence and diversity among our students and faculty.” Watch a tribute video at the link below.


One of the more moving moments of the ceremony centered on Honorary Doctorate recipient Dr. Joseph Ciechanover, the older brother of Technion Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover. Joseph is a successful entrepreneur and esteemed Israeli diplomat who participated in the peace treaty agreements with Egypt, served as Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, legal advisor to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and Chairman of the Board of El-Al. He helped raise Aaron, when they lost their parents at a young age. “Without him, I would not be standing here before you today,” said Aaron at the ceremony. Watch the video for more on Dr. Ciechanover’s life.

The Awarding of Honorary Fellowships

Steve and Ilene Berger are leaders of the ATS Philadelphia Chapter. Steve served as President from 2012-2015, and was then succeeded by his wife. Both serve on the Philadelphia Chapter Board, the ATS National Board of Directors and the Technion Board of Governors, and are members of the ATS Genesis Circle. Technion Guardians, they established the Steve & Ilene Berger Portable Biomedicine Innovation Laboratory and have supported research for the early detection of heart arrhythmia, as well as ATS regional fundraising projects.


Mark Gaines is a former President of the ATS Chicago Chapter. He is currently a member of the ATS National Board of Directors and the Technion Board of Governors, and will chair the Technion World Tour to New York City in 2017. He and his wife, Nina, have generously supported the Asher Space Research Institute Building Fund, the Nina and Mark Gaines Family Lecture Hall and a number of other initiatives, including an Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Fund.


Terry Gardner is an oil and gas engineer, who taught in the Technion Natural Gas and Petroleum Engineering Graduate Study Program that he helped launch. He has been President of the ATS Houston Chapter since 2007, is a member of the ATS National Board of Directors and has participated in solidarity missions during conflicts between Israel and Gaza. Among the many projects he has so generously supported are the Stanley Shalom Zielony Graduate Student Village and the Uzi and Michal Halevy Fund for Innovative Applied Engineering Research. Terry and his Israeli wife, Shifra, are members of the ATS Genesis Circle.

Arnold Seidel has been a member of the ATS Southern California Chapter for nearly 40 years. As a local Board member, his efforts have helped build one of the strongest communities in the organization. He is a member of the ATS National Board of Directors and of the Technion Board of Directors. Technion Guardians, he and his wife, Joan, established the Joan and Arnold Seidel and Family Tumor Biology Research Laboratory and the Seidel Family Graduate Fellowship Fund. In 2014, they helped fund an exhibition of the Technion’s Nano Bible at the Israel Museum.

ATS-Sponsored Awards and Events

Throughout the years, ATS friends from New York to California have established awards, competitions, prizes, research grants and other initiatives to support, encourage and reward the most promising students and faculty.

The BOG also included ceremonies for several ATS-sponsored awards:

  • Harvey Prize
  • Uzi and Michal Halevy Innovative Applied Engineering Award and Research Grants
  • Hilda and Hershel Rich Technion Innovation Awards
  • Norman Seiden Prize for Academic Excellence
  • Diane Sherman Prize for Medical Innovations for a Better World
  • Henry Taub Prizes for Academic Excellence
  • Leonard and Diane Sherman Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellows

Join us in Haifa for next year’s BOG meeting (June 8-13, 2018). We look forward to seeing you.