My parents were Zionists, a trait I proudly inherited. We talked about the Technion growing up. So just before graduating from high school, I phoned the ATS and asked: ‘How do I go about applying to the Technion?’ A week later, speaking no Hebrew other than the traditional prayers, I was on my way to Israel. I took a preparatory course, passed my entrance exams in Hebrew and was accepted into the faculty of electrical engineering. It was a serious program. But when you’re ideologically motivated, such challenges appear diminished.
Graduating from the Technion, I planned to look for work in Israel. But then I thought, ‘I can do more for Israel by returning to the U.S. and starting a company,’ (back then there was no startup ecosystem). Applying the physics that was demanded of me at the Technion gave me an advantage over my competitors. I made myself a promise: Since I went to the Technion on a scholarship, I would give back when I could.
In 1990, while still growing his electronics business, Altronix, Jonathan established the Jonathan & Edna Sohnis Scholarship. At the age of 40, he became a Technion Guardian—one of the youngest in ATS’s history. He and his wife Edna, an Israeli, have since supported Technion projects in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, stem cell research and other areas. Jonathan served as President of the New York Metropolitan Region and is a member of the ATS National Board and the Technion Board of Governors. He has been recognized with a Technion Honorary Fellowship and an Honorary Doctorate, and was named a Distinguished Fellow of the Technion Faculty of Electrical Engineering.
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