2013 TAU Honorary Degrees Awarded

Tel Aviv University bestowed its highest honors on ten remarkable individuals who have made outstanding contributions in diverse fields such as neurobiology, entrepreneurship, education, economics and the dramatic arts
09 June 2013

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Pioneering researchers, entrepreneurs, leaders and cultural trailblazers were among the recipients of Tel Aviv University honorary degrees, as well as the TAU's prestigious George S. Wise Medal, at a festive ceremony held in the Miriam and Adolfo Smolarz Auditorium. Highlights included musical performances and a moving speech about the power of knowledge by one of the honorees.


Addressing the audience, TAU President Joseph Klafter emphasized the contributions of each of the honorees, saying that “whether in private business or public life, in the sciences or the arts, this year’s recipients have had tremendous impact and influence on their fields, on their communities and on society.” Prof.  Klafter added that “one honoree has helped over 130,000 victims of trauma to rebuild their lives; another has generated 800 patents for new medical devices and drugs and four have contributed directly to keeping business and entire economies robust and prosperous.” He also stressed that “as leaders, teachers, mentors, caregivers and donors, they are encouraging and shaping the next generation of leadership.”


Honorary doctor Maurice Lévy of France, who responded on behalf of the recipients, spoke of the critical importance of the knowledge economy, and how “Tel Aviv University epitomizes Israel’s search for knowledge and education and for passing on the key to the future to Israel’s youth.”


George S. Wise Medal

The George S. Wise Medal was awarded to Prof. Stanley Fischer, US/Israel, outgoing Governor of the Bank of Israel and TAU Honorary Doctor, in recognition of his achievements as one of the world’s foremost economists and policymakers; his exemplary leadership of the Bank of Israel and masterful handling of the Israeli economy during the global financial crisis; his decades-long commitment to and impact on the growth and prosperity of the State of Israel; his instrumental role in shaping international economic policy during his term as First Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; and his far-reaching contributions in the academic sphere, both in guiding new generations of students around the world and in producing an impressive oeuvre of economics publications in the fields of monetary theory, inflation and international economics.


Honorary Doctorate Recipients

Len Blavatnik, US – Philanthropy & Education

In recognition of his remarkable accomplishments as a prominent, highly successful and self-made American businessman and philanthropist of Russian-Jewish origin; his entrepreneurial prowess in founding Access Industries and expanding its holdings to include natural resources, media, telecommunications, real estate, technology and life sciences; his outstanding generosity in advancing a wide range of social, educational, Jewish and cultural causes in Israel, Europe, Russia and the US; and in special recognition of his deep commitment toward the State of Israel, both as investor and benefactor; his active promotion of excellence in higher education and research at leading academic institutions in Israel and the world, among them Harvard University, Oxford University and the New York Academy of Sciences; and his support of Tel Aviv University, and particularly its School of Computer Science, which bears his name.


Jeremy Coller, UK – Entrepreneurship

In recognition of his accomplishments as one of the most successful and influential financiers of his generation; his outstanding entrepreneurial acumen in founding and leading Coller Capital, one of the largest global firms in the secondary private equity market; his vision in guiding the evolution of private equity as an asset class, for which he has received a host of accolades, including the industry Leader Award; and in special recognition of his commitment to the worldwide teaching and research of entrepreneurship and innovation as a means of bolstering the economy; and his endeavors to develop global venture capitalism by forging stronger connections between the academic and business communities, including most recently his establishment of the Coller Institute of Venture at Tel Aviv University.


Ray Jackendoff, US – Humanities

In recognition of his standing as one of the world’s most eminent linguists and philosophers; his seminal research over 35 years that has challenged prevailing linguistic theory by proposing a complex interplay between syntax, semantics, sensory input and culture; his pathbreaking and much-cited works, among them the monumental Foundations of Language, which has become canonical; and in special recognition of his transformation of linguistics into an interdisciplinary field by combining it with cognitive and developmental psychology, philosophy of mind, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and computational linguistics; and his deep connection with the State of Israel, both as a warm friend and as a visiting professor in the country’s universities.


Robert S. Langer, US – Nanoscience

In recognition of his undisputed standing as the world’s foremost nanomedical scientist, most cited engineer and most prolific biotechnologist; his groundbreaking discoveries that have changed the landscape of the pharma, chemical, biotech and medical device industries; his pioneering of entirely new biomedical techniques such as non-invasive drug delivery and engineered blood vessels; his decades-long contribution to human health and wellbeing, which has garnered him over 200 major awards, among them the US National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize and the Tel Aviv University-affiliated Dan David Prize; and in special recognition of his outstanding advancement of academic-industrial links and promotion of scientific entrepreneurship; his enthusiasm in nurturing new generations of nanomedical experts, among them many Israelis; and his friendship toward Israel and fruitful collaborative ties with Tel Aviv University.


Maurice Lévy, France – Media & Leadership

In recognition of his standing as one of the most influential figures in France and in the worldwide media industry; his entrepreneurial acumen in transforming Publicis Groupe from a regional advertising agency into the world’s third largest communications conglomerate and a leader in innovation and technology; his remarkable vision in recognizing the importance of an international business model years before the “global village” became a reality; his promotion of tolerance and diversity as a core principle of his corporate culture, for which he was awarded the International Leadership Award of the Anti-Defamation League; and in special recognition of his commitment to nurturing a durable peace in the Middle East through economic development; his true friendship toward the State of Israel; and his committed and engaged role in Tel Aviv University’s French Friends Association spanning decades.


Judith Yovel Recanati, Israel – Social Impact

In recognition of her outstanding leadership in the areas of philanthropy, social advocacy and civic volunteerism; her exceptional vision in co-founding NATAL–The Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War, which has become a flagship organization for rehabilitating victims and their families, advancing the treatment and prevention of psycho-trauma, raising public awareness and disseminating knowledge; her generous humanitarian spirit in supporting a range of cultural, health and social welfare initiatives that are improving quality of life in Israel; and in special recognition of her heartfelt dedication to strengthening the fabric of Israeli society and her devotion to helping those less fortunate than herself, for which she has gained many accolades, among them the President's Award for Volunteerism.


Prof. Carla J. Shatz, USA – Neurobiology   

In recognition of her accomplishments as one of the world’s leading neurobiologists; her influential research on early brain development and neuroplasticity, which led to a paradigm shift in understanding brain connectivity; her groundbreaking discoveries, which have gained her numerous honors and broad popular recognition; her esteemed leadership of the scientific community, including as President of the Society for Neuroscience and as the first female Chair of the Harvard Department of Neurobiology; and in special recognition of her distinctive interdisciplinary approach that combines fields as diverse as anatomy, chemistry, molecular biology and physiology, and that led to her appointment as head of the prestigious BioX program at Stanford; and her vital contribution to strengthening the role of women in science as a trailblazer herself and as a mentor to others.


Miriam Zohar-Galblum, Israel – Dramatic Arts

In recognition of her courage and spiritual strength in surviving the Nazi occupation of Romania, Ukrainian work camps and Cyprus detention camps as a child; her remarkable transformation from new Israeli immigrant into one of the country's most beloved and esteemed stage, film and television actresses; her illustrious career spanning six decades, which has brought her a host of accolades including the Israel Prize; her versatility in bringing a range of modern and classical theatrical roles to life in productions by Israel’s most renowned troupes, among them Habima, Beit Lessin and the Cameri; and in special recognition of her dedication to excellence in artistic performance and interpretation, which has enriched Israeli society and culture; and her fervent commitment to nurturing new generations of Israeli stage professionals through teaching, guidance and encouragement.


TAU Honorary Fellowship

Guillermo Swerdlin, Mexico/Israel

In recognition of his standing as a prominent businessman and philanthropist; his engaged leadership of the Mexican Jewish community, including his service as President of Keren Hayesod; his staunch Zionism and decades-long love affair with the State of Israel, which was only reinforced in 1984 when he made aliyah; and in special recognition of his warm and longstanding friendship toward Tel Aviv University as both Governor and generous benefactor; his vision in co-founding and leading the Spanish-Speaking Israeli Friends of Tel Aviv University for the past decade; and his generous dedication, together with his wife, Miriam, of the Swerdlin Institute for Latin American Studies in memory of their beloved son, Norman.


For past honorary doctorate recipients, click here >>


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