Tel Aviv University Pays Tribute to a True Friend

Outgoing President of the German Friends and TAU Honorary Doctor Ernst Gerhardt hailed for his deep commitment to Israel and Tel Aviv University
21 September 2015
From left: Incoming President of the German Friends, Mr. Uwe Becker; Honorary President Mr.Ernst Gerhardt; TAU Honorary Doctor Mr. Josef Buchmann and TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter. Photo: Rafael Herlich

Dr. h.c. Ernst Gerhardt, President of the German Friends Association of Tel Aviv University since 1986 was feted at a gala evening marking the end of his three decades of activity on behalf of the German Friends. The event, which took place in Frankfurt, was held one day before Mr. Gerhardt’s 94th birthday.


Attending were Tel Aviv University President Joseph Klafter; Vice President for Resource Development Amos Elad; the Gerhardt family; incoming President of the German Friends Association and City Treasurer of the City of Frankfurt, Uwe Becker; TAU Governors and Honorary Doctors Mr. Josef and Mrs. Bareket Buchmann; members of the German Friends including TAU Governor Mrs. Zipi Roitman; and other supporters of the University.


Prof. Klafter welcomed the guests, noting that Mr. Gerhardt was the longest-serving president of a friends association in the history of Tel Aviv University. He hailed Mr. Gerhardt’s contribution to the City of Frankfurt’s economic and cultural development as “legendary,” including serving in the Parliament and as City Treasurer, on top of his many voluntary activities.


Prof. Klafter noted that Mr. Gerhardt had also been instrumental in strengthening bilateral relations between Frankfurt and Tel Aviv, and between Germany and Israel, channeling his deep commitment to Israel into activity on behalf of TAU and higher education. Along with the late TAU Vice President Yehiel Ben-Zvi and early supporters such as Josef Buchmann and others, Mr. Gerhard built up the standing of Tel Aviv University in Frankfurt and Germany.

 From left: Vice President for Resource Development Amos Elad, Mr. Uwe Becker and TAU Director of Development and Public Affairs Yael Regev. Photo: Rafael Herlich 

In recognition of his outstanding political and public service, Mr. Gerhardt has received some of Germany’s highest awards and honors, among them the Federal Cross of Merit with Star, the Wilhelm-Leuschner Plaque of the State of Hesse, and the Badge of Honor of the City of Frankfurt.


Support for student scholarships


Under Mr. Gerhardt’s leadership the German Friends have initiated numerous projects at TAU – projects that have been vital to the growth and development of the University, and Israeli and German academia. Among these is the Ernst Gerhardt Scholarship Fund, which was founded in 1985, exactly 30 years ago. The Fund has raised 1,140 scholarships to date and is still going strong.


Prof. Klafter presented Mr. Gerhardt with a tribute album containing photos of thirty years of German Friends’ activity as well as letters of appreciation from students who have benefited from the Ernst Gerhardt Scholarship Fund.


Looking back, Mr. Gerhardt spoke about the cooperation and close friendship between Germany and Israel through the activities of the German friends. Looking forward, new Friends President Uwe Becker said, “Being connected to TAU and supporting its activities is like being connected to innovation and the future.”  


The event featured performances by TAU’s MultiPiano Ensemble of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music led by Head of the School Prof. Tomer Lev.  



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