TAU Benefactor Raymond Sackler Recognized by the State of Israel
At a ceremony held at the United Nations Security Council chamber, the Honorable Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, recognized Dr. Raymond Sackler for his exceptional support of Tel Aviv University and the State of Israel. On behalf of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ambassador Prosor presented Dr. Sackler with a certificate commending his "unwavering commitment to higher education, research and the advancement of medicine, science and the arts in Israel."
The event was organized by the American Friends of TAU (AFTAU) and attended by a number of TAU leaders, members of the Sackler family and special guests. Among the participants were TAU President Joseph Klafter; TAU Vice President for Resource Development Amos Elad; TAU Board of Governors Chairman Emeritus Harvey M. Krueger; AFTAU National Chairman Jon Gurkoff; past National Chairman William F. Cohen; Dean of the Sackler School of Medicine Prof. Yoseph A. Mekori; Executive Dean of the New York State/American Program at the Sackler School of Medicine, Dr. Stephen H. Lazar; and TAU President’s Award recipient Howard R. Udell.
Championing the sciences
At an intimate luncheon in the UN complex following the ceremony, TAU President Joseph Klafter celebrated the dedication of Dr. Sackler, his wife, Beverly, and the Sackler family to the ideals of higher education. “Sackler is nothing short of a brand name at Tel Aviv University,” Prof. Klafter said. “Practically every step you take on campus will lead you to a Sackler-supported unit, from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, which Raymond and his brothers dedicated back in 1976, to the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, the Sackler Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center, and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute of Biophysics – to name just a few out of over thirty.”
Of the outsized impact of the Sacklers at TAU, President Klafter noted that “just at the Faculties of Medicine and Exact Sciences alone, about 7,000 talented students are studying this year. If you add to this the number of influential papers published by faculty members annually, and multiply the totals by over 30 years, you can begin to grasp the impact of the Sacklers' support for Tel Aviv University. I can safely say that without Raymond and Beverly Sackler, Tel Aviv University would not be what it is today – a bastion of academic excellence and a leading scientific, social and cultural force in Israel.”
Moreover, their support of academic excellence has translated directly into greater prominence and competitiveness of the State of Israel, President Klafter stressed. “Breakthroughs in basic and applied science are powering new technologies and businesses in the biomedical, high-tech and defense fields,” he said, emphasizing how “inventions at the University's laboratories have contributed to Israel's reputation as the ‘startup’ nation and to its ranking as the 14th most innovative country in the world.”
Pictured: The Honorable Ron Prosor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN, speaking at the UN Security Council chamber
Klafter remarked that Dr. Sackler’s vision and generosity represent “a tremendous life's accomplishment, worthy of TAU's most heartfelt appreciation, and of a nation's gratitude and esteem,” adding that “Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed this very sentiment to me when we met in Jerusalem a couple of weeks ago to discuss Tel Aviv University's role in advancing national research priorities.”
Putting TAU on the world map
President Klafter also extolled Dr. Sackler’s vision of keeping TAU at the forefront of the international community of science and scholarship. To this end, Dr. Sackler and his family established an institute of advanced studies, a distinguished visiting professorship program, and major international science prizes at the university.
Drawing attention to Dr. Sackler’s enthusiastic support for new models for advancing TAU’s international cooperative ties, President Klafter mentioned the New York State/American medical program, launched in 1976, which introduced an entirely new paradigm in Israeli higher education. “To date, almost 2,000 doctors have graduated the program and are spreading the good name of Israel, Tel Aviv University and the Sacklers at top American hospitals and medical centers.”
Recently, the Sacklers helped establish yet another new type of cooperative research framework, the TAU-Harvard Astronomy Program, and the TAU-UC Berkeley Fund in the Physical, Biomedical and Engineering Sciences.
Quoting an old Jewish proverb — “A table is not blessed if it has fed no scholars" — President Klafter said that Dr. Sackler “had fed many scholars, upholding, with Beverly at your side, the supreme Jewish value of learning. You have embodied the Jewish imperative to do good, and to better our world.”
Dr. Sackler was also presented with a book signed by Israeli President Shimon Peres, who similarly praised the Sackler family for their extraordinary contributions to the cause of higher education in Israel.