2014 TAU Honorary Degrees Awarded
In a lively ceremony during Tel Aviv University's annual Board of Governors Meeting, the university conferred its most distinguished award — the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa — on former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso and six outstanding leaders from diverse disciplines. The recipients were individually honored for professional and social contributions in science, innovation, business, philanthropy, social activism, and the arts, as well as for their abiding support of the State of Israel, at the May 15th event.
"It is my delight to see you here again at Tel Aviv University," said Prof. Jacob Frenkel, the Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International who serves as Chairman of TAU's Board of Governors, "an institution that fosters inclusivity of people of all ethnicities and nationalities." This is the place where "one embraces the idea that things can and should be better," he said to prolonged applause in the filled-to-capacity auditorium.
Prof. Frenkel singled out former President Cardoso among other honorary degree recipients and thanked him in Portuguese for his efforts to "transform Brazil into a modern democracy." In the ceremony, President Cardoso was recognized for his accomplishments as a "respected national leader, intellectual, scholar and statesman" as well as "his ongoing endeavors to leverage his international renown to promote peace and human rights; and his warm friendship toward the State of Israel."
Delivering a response on behalf of all the honorees, President Cardoso said, "Today is a celebration of knowledge, responsibility, creativity, and innovation. On behalf of my fellow recipients, I thank you for the honor bestowed."
A colorful, global ceremony
Additional honorees recognized for their prominent and positive roles were Ronnie Chan, of Hong Kong, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who has steadfastly promoted Sino-Israel relations; Paulina Luisa Mizrahi de Deutsch, of Argentina, for her inspiring and engaged leadership role in Argentina’s Jewish community; Prof. David Sankoff, of Canada, for his accomplishments in computational biology and the evolution of the genome; and Prof. Paul Zimmet, Australia, for his contribution to medical progress as a foremost expert in diabetes mellitus. Two Israelis were honored: Agi Mishol for her "standing as one of Israel's most prominent and best-loved poets," and Gil Shwed, a technology pioneer who founded Check Point Software, the world leader in data protection.
The university also bestowed an Honorary Fellowship on the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv for "its singular contribution, over seven decades, to enhancing Israeli culture and the cultural life of Tel Aviv. The ceremony featured musical interludes by Cameri performers, and the audience was riveted by a performance by renowned mentalist Lior Suchard, whose mind-reading feats have been showcased on television broadcasts around the world.
Celebrating a remarkable group
"I do not believe we have ever had five continents represented at this annual event," said Tel Aviv University President Yossi Klafter. "This global scope is not by coincidence. From decade to decade, year to year, Tel Aviv University has extended its international reach and standing, connecting Israel and tens of thousands of the world's scientists, scholars, and students; the university and Diaspora Jewry, especially through our Friends Associations in 21 countries; and the wider Tel Aviv University community and international figures and organizations — a number of whom, a remarkable few, are here on this stage tonight.
"Let us salute our recipients' world-encompassing vision, which we so identify with at Tel Aviv University, and which guides us like a brilliantly shining beacon in everything we do," said Prof. Klafter.
The list of TAU's previous degree recipients is a virtual global Who's Who of the past 60 years. Statesmen include David Ben Gurion, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Golda Meir, Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, and Yitzhak Rabin. Recipients in the arts include Leonard Bernstein, Marc Chagall, Eugene Ionesco, Henry Moore, Santiago Calatrava, Margaret Atwood, the Coen Brothers, and Franco Zeffirelli. In the world of business and finance, recipients include Armand Hammer, Laurence Tisch, Sheldon Adelson, Martin Witman, and Michael Steinhardt. Scientists and scholars include Bernard Lewis, Eric Lander, Edward Teller, Miriam Adelson, and Elie Wiesel.
As originally reported by AFTAU.