BOG 2019: Honorary Degrees Awarded

Honors reflect contributions to science, finance, business, philanthropy and social activism
05 June 2019
2019 Honorary Degrees Honorees. Photo: Noam Wind

In a dazzling ceremony held during the 2019 Board of Governors Meeting, Tel Aviv University conferred its highest distinctions upon eleven exceptional individuals. The ceremony was held in the Miriam and Adolfo Smolarz Auditorium in the presence of senior TAU officials and academics, Governors and friends, members of the diplomatic corps, and other guests.


Board of Governors Chairman Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel noted that Tel Aviv University reflects the open, pluralistic and diversified values of the City of Tel Aviv-Yafo: “We pursue universality, from the social sciences, law, music, theater and philosophy to the most cutting edge scientific fields like cyber, nano and machine learning,” he said.  


“The choice of honorary recipients this year exemplifies the broad range of Tel Aviv University,” said Prof. Frenkel. “Tonight we have on the stage two champions of the global economy who led a decade-long recovery after the world’s deepest and longest financial crisis; a policy reformer, who has dedicated her life to alleviating poverty and promoting transparent governance; a top pioneer in genetic diseases; as well as two titans of the business world, who believe in strengthening joint academic-industry innovation. We also have four individuals or organizations that have shown remarkable civic and philanthropic leadership. We welcome our honorees to the TAU family and congratulate them,” he concluded.  


Outgoing TAU President Joseph Klafter, who completed two terms of office as President during the Board of Governors meeting, spoke of new beginnings in life – for him personally and for the University. Similarly, said Prof. Klafter, “our honorees tonight have also remade themselves and embarked on new pursuits throughout their remarkable careers.”


“I too, in a few days will begin a new chapter, so this is a perfect opportunity to bid farewell, to say thank you and to wish us all meaningful endings that lead to inspiring beginnings,” concluded Prof. Klafter.


During the ceremony, the audience was treated to performances of harp music, flamenco, Gershwin and Klezmer music directed by Dr. Orit Wolf.


The George S. Wise Medal:


Dr. Axel A. Weber, Germany

​Dr. Axel Weber has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBS, a Swiss bank and the world's largest global wealth manager, since 2012. Previously, he served as a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, President of the German Bundesbank, and as a member of the German Council of Economic Experts. Dr. Axel Weber was recognized for his distinguished career as a leading academic economist and preeminent central banker, his decades-long contribution to financial and economic stability in Europe, and his warm friendship for the State of Israel and Tel Aviv University over the years.


Honorary Doctorates:


Mr. Sylvan Adams, Israel/Canada

​Sylvan Adams, a Canadian-born businessman, philanthropist and amateur cycling champion, made Aliyah in 2016. He previously served as CEO of the Montreal-based real estate firm Iberville Developments, and was the sole shareholder of Summit International Bank. He was recognized for his boundless philanthropic spirit in continuing his family tradition of supporting educational, health and Jewish causes in Canada and Israel; his dedication to promoting Israel’s image overseas through innovative means such as sports and cultural activities; and his visionary establishment of the Sports Institute at Tel Aviv University, which will enhance the performance of Israeli athletes.


Prof. Adrian R. Krainer, USA/Uruguay

Adrian Krainer is the St. Giles Foundation Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Long Island, NY). He was recognized for his ground-breaking development of the world’s first treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, which is offering hope and enhancing quality of life among sufferers around the world; his innovative research methodologies, which could also have implications for treating cancer and a range of devastating disease; and his valued collaborations with scientists at Tel Aviv University.


Dr. Shlomo Markel, Israel

Dr. Shlomo Markel has been Vice President, Office of the Chief Technical Officer, at Broadcom since 2001. Dr. Markel oversees Broadcom’s operations in Israel and academic collaboration with all the major Israeli universities. He was recognized for his immense contribution to Israel’s national security, economic prosperity and academic progress; his visionary role in revitalizing and securing the future of Tel Aviv University’s Engineering Faculty to train new generations of engineers; and his staunch friendship toward Tel Aviv University, including in his capacity as Chairman of the Board of Ramot,, TAU’s technology transfer arm.


Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria

Economist, international development expert and anti-corruption warrior, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the first woman to serve as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and as Minister of Foreign Affairs (2006). Previously, she served for 25 years at the World Bank. She was recognized for her lifelong dedication to economic development, education and the alleviation of poverty worldwide; her exceptional leadership in healing the Nigerian economy by reinforcing its public financial systems and her advocating honest and transparent governance; and her vision and creativity in pioneering programs that empower and offer hope to women and youth.


Mr. Dilip Shanghvi, India

​Dilip Shanghvi is an Indian businessman who founded Sun Pharmaceutical Industries in 1983, the 5th largest global specialty generic pharma company with revenues of $4 billion. He was recognized for his rise from humble beginnings to one of India’s most successful entrepreneurs and business leaders; his philanthropic support, together with his family, numerous projects in education, healthcare, social welfare and community development, with a particular emphasis on aiding India’s poorest and most marginalized groups; and his profound commitment to higher education, including his sincere friendship toward Tel Aviv University and Israel.

The Hon. Laura Wolfson Townsley, UK

​The Honourable Laura Wolfson Townsley is Chair of the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust and a Trustee of the Wolfson Foundation, both of which have a long tradition of funding excellence in higher education across the UK and Israel. She is the granddaughter of Sir Isaac Wolfson and the daughter of Lord Wolfson of Marylebone, the charities’ founders. She was recognized for her fervor in perpetuating  the philanthropic legacy of her family, which supports important educational, scientific, health and cultural projects across the UK and Israel; her decades-long patronage of higher education in Israel, and of Tel Aviv University in particular, through numerous gifts of advanced research equipment and facilities; and her many honors and accolades attesting to her unshakeable commitment to the State of Israel and its future generations.


Dr. Janet L. Yellen, USA

​Dr. Janet Yellen is an economist who served as Chair of the Board of Governors of the US Federal Reserve System from 2014-18, and as Vice-Chair from 2010-2014. She is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Among her prior roles, she was Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, and President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She was recognized for her stature as an internationally esteemed economist, policymaker and dedicated public servant; her exemplary leadership in stabilizing and reinstating economic growth in the US following the 2008 financial crisis; and for her warm friendship with the State of Israel over many years.


“The economic recovery after the 2008 financial meltdown wouldn’t have been possible without innovative fiscal and monetary solutions made by decades of contribution from the world’s greatest universities.”  Dr. Janet L. Yellen on behalf of the honorees


Honorary Fellowships:


Mr. Richard Sincere, USA

​Richard Sincere is founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Sincere & Co., a third-party marketing and distribution firm in the financial investment industry. At Tel Aviv University, he is a member of the Board of Governors and of the board of the Coller School of Management, as well as outgoing National Chairman of the American Friends Board of Directors. He was recognized for his standing as a respected entrepreneur and philanthropist and for his generosity in supporting important causes relating to Jewish continuity and higher education; his passion for strengthening Israeli academia, particularly through creating partnerships with leading American universities; and his commitment to the academic and physical growth of the University as one of its most devoted and longstanding benefactors, leaders and governors, including his provision of scholarships to talented reserve soldiers; and his heartfelt and abiding friendship toward the State of Israel.


Appleseeds Academy, Israel

​Appleseeds Academy is an Israeli non-profit founded in 2000 with the aim of bridging between Israel's startup sector and marginalized communities from Israel's social and geographic periphery. It was recognized for its admirable quest to incorporate all sectors of society into Israel’s high-tech success story; its dedication to strengthening digital literacy among marginalized groups and thereby improve social mobility in Israel; and its overall commitment to the personal, professional and social advancement of Israel’s most underprivileged groups.


TAU President’s Award 2019: 

​The 2019 President’s Award was conferred upon Yariv Bash and Yonatan Winetraub, both TAU alumni, and Kfir Damari, co-founders of the SpaceIL project to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. They were recognized for their success in putting Israel firmly on the space exploration map and inspiring the pride of millions; their educational programs that encourage Israeli youngsters to pursue science and technology fields while fostering leadership qualities; and their contribution to Israel’s prominence as a world center of innovation.




Tel Aviv University makes every effort to respect copyright. If you own copyright to the content contained
here and / or the use of such content is in your opinion infringing, Contact us as soon as possible >>