L-R: Technion Prof. Gidi Grader, Cyma Satell, Ed Satell, Former Technion President Prof. Emeritus Peretz Lavie, Lena Lavie, ATS CEO Michael Waxman-Lenz

The room was awash with celebration, pride, warmth, and even tears as longtime Technion supporter Ed Satell was awarded the prestigious Einstein Award – the highest honor bestowed by the American Technion Society (ATS). Mr. Satell was recognized for his extraordinary leadership and abiding commitment to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the State of Israel, and corporate social responsibility.

“I didn’t have the talent to be a scientist, but I did have the opportunity to be an enabler,” said Mr. Satell, addressing some 120 guests at the inspiring Awards ceremony on May 3. “To be able to help others accomplish their goals to make life better for you, me, my children, my grandchildren, and the greater community. I want to thank the Technion for giving me this opportunity.”

Mr. Satell is a director emeritus of the ATS National Board and an honorary member of the ATS-Philadelphia Board of Directors. He and his wife, Cyma, support the University at the highest levels as Technion Guardian. In addition to his generosity toward Israel and the Technion, Mr. Satell has supported some 40 other nonprofits through the two foundations he established, and created and fully endowed a third nonprofit — the Satell Institute — A Think And Do Tank Dedicated To Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). 

Joined by his wife, along with multiple children and grandchildren, friends from all over the U.S., business and civic leaders, and members of nonprofits he supports, Mr. Satell was celebrated during an evening of cocktails and tributes at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Regina Black Lennox, Satell Institute EVP and Mr. Satell’s longtime head of philanthropy, spoke about his life and accomplishments. Museum CEO Scott Stephenson hailed Mr. Satell as one of the museum’s earliest supporters, and brought Michael Veloric, president of the ATS-Philadelphia Board, onto the dais to open the evening’s festivities.

“Philadelphia is known for a great many things,” he said, ticking off local goodies such as soft pretzels, water ice, and TastyKakes. “But for most of us, it is also the home of our dear friend Ed Satell, a name synonymous with generosity and philanthropy.” Mr. Veloric noted that the Award recognized “the very soul of Ed Satell. He’s a man who believes to his core the idea of Tikkun Olam – the Jewish concept of actions intended to repair and improve the world.”

Professor Gideon Grader, the founding director of the Nancy and Stephen Grand Technion Energy Program, spoke about Mr. Satell’s contributions to the Program, which helped advance research in renewable energy by targeting the development and storage of alternative fuels. “Ed connected to this vision and became the Program’s very first donor,” he said. His Satell Family Nitrogen-Hydrogen Alternative Fuels Reaction Research Laboratory “became a hub for educating many brilliant students now making meaningful contributions to the field.” Technology developed in the lab led to the award-winning startup H2Pro, which created a method for producing green hydrogen that is safe and cost-competitive with fossil fuels.

“When it comes to philanthropy and generosity, Ed is a serial offender,” said Prof. Grader. “Miraculously, he keeps stepping to the giving plate.”

For the Technion scientists who could not be in Philadelphia to express their appreciation, the University created a tribute video. Professor Marcelle Machluf, head of the Carasso FoodTech Innovation Center, noted the Satells supported her research into a targeted drug delivery platform that resulted in the biotech company startup NanoGhost. “You gave me the chance to fulfill my dream,” she said.

Assistant Professor Alon Grinberg Dana, who estimated nearly one-quarter of his life’s work in research benefited from Mr. Satell’s support, said: “It’s really inspiring to see how your vision and support has impacted so many peoples’ lives, including mine.” And Assistant Professor Ido Kaminer of the Andrew & Erna Viterbi Faculty of Computer & Electrical Engineering thanked Mr. Satell for “creating an environment of creativity.”

Former Technion President Peretz Lavie, who was instrumental in Mr. Satell’s Technion involvement, made a special trip to Philadelphia. He told heart-warming anecdotes of their work together and spoke of Mr. Satell’s passion for supporting many seemingly disparate causes. “Ed has adopted the concept of tikkun olam as the guideline of his life,” he said. Citing the late Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth Jonathan Sacks who once said: “our worth is measured by what we are willing to give to others,” President Lavie added, “Ed, your worth is priceless.”

In closing, past ATS National President Zahava Bar-Nir and ATS CEO Michael Waxman-Lenz presented Mr. Satell with the Einstein Award. Created in 1968 to recognize leaders who exemplify the vision and values of the late Dr. Albert Einstein, who helped co-found the ATS, the Award is given so rarely that its first was not bestowed until 1972.

Mr. Satell accepted the award with good humor, joking that he “wants to meet the guy” everyone has been talking about — and with gratitude. “For me it has been an honor and a privilege,” he said, fondly recalling getting to know President Lavie and being brought into game-changing research at the Technion. He spoke of the founding fathers of his hometown who built the community in which he benefited. “I said when it became my turn I would quietly go ahead and do the same.”

Mr. Satell has helped bring countless innovations and research discoveries to light, and touched the lives of so many Technion students and promising young people. “We all need to be more positive, more united. We need to be thinking about we, not just me,” he said. “We need each other so the next generation will have it even better than we did.”