Profile: Sylvia Smaller-Winnikow
Ecological and environmental research at TAU has been boosted during the past few years through the generosity of the Smaller-Winnikow Scholarship Fund for Environmental Research. Run in cooperation with the Keren Keyemeth L'Israel/JNF, the fund was established in honor of TAU Governor Sylvia Smaller-Winnikow of Sydney, Australia, by her son and daughter in-law Peter and Elaine Smaller.
Each year the Fund awards from between six to seven students at the advanced degree level specializing in environmental research in topics ranging from biodiversity and zoology to water treatment and geophysics. The collaboration with the Jewish National Fund allows the utilization of the university's research excellence for the benefit of Israel's intensive activities in forestry and sustainable water resources.
Described as a woman of courage, strength and determination by her son, Peter, and one who always rose above adversity to strengthen and solidify the family and family business – Sylvia faced hard decisions head on as necessity required. Peter and his mother had been business partners who worked together as mother and son in the tough and competitive steel industry – an occupation that aptly earned her the title of "The Iron Lady."
Sylvia discovered her Zionist roots early on during her first visit to Israel in 1951 when it was love at first sight. She turned into a high-level Zionist activist in South Africa. She became a member of the TAU Board of Governors in the late 1970s and raised substantial funds for the university in Cape Town and Sydney. Today, Sylvia lives in Sydney with her family and still keeps a keen interest in Israeli affairs. Her love of Israel is still as strong as it was some sixty years ago when she first visited here.
Projects Aided by the Smaller-Winnikow Fund
• Initiation and planning of the master plan for the ecological corridor of Modiin in Central Israel
• The Bible (Elah) Park master plan
• Urban ecological gardening
• The microbiology of the Yarkon river
• Tracing medicines and chemicals in purified sewage water