TAU Honors Benefactor Dimitry Zimin at Memorial Event

Renowned philanthropist and close friend of the University commemorated worldwide
04 January 2022
Dr. Zimin's son, Boris Zimin, accepting the TAU Honorary Doctorate degree on behalf of his father at the 2018 Board of Governors meeting.

A few days after Dmitry Zimin’s death on December 22, 2021, Tel Aviv University hosted his Israeli friends and colleagues for a memorial event in honor of the renowned scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. The virtual event, organized by the Zimin Foundation and family, was also broadcast from Zimin’s office in Moscow and his Cyprus residence.


Dozens of well-known public figures, whose lives Zimin affected either personally or through his projects, tuned in from around the world to pay their last respects.


TAU boasts a strong connection to the late Zimin. In 2017, he founded TAU’s Zimin Institute for Engineering Solutions Advancing Better Lives and in 2018 TAU awarded him an honorary doctorate.


“Dr. Zimin wanted to revolutionize the way we do research; he taught us to do things in a better way, targeting science as a means of contributing to a better world,” said Prof. David Mendlovic, Head of the Zimin Institute. “The Institute is upholding Zimin’s vision of promoting education and supporting scientific discoveries; since its launch it has awarded grants to some of the most cutting-edge research to come out of TAU,” he added. The Institute supports scientific discoveries with real-world impact in medicine, digital health technologies, brain studies, healthy aging and the related fields.


Zimin was recognized for his wide philanthropic reach. On the global scale, he established several institutes and initiatives in Israel, Europe and the U.S. In Russia, he focused on promoting education and science. Among some of his well-known projects was the establishment in 2008 of the Enlightener Prize, awarded to authors of popular science books. His foundations also advance cultural projects, including countless book publications, documentary films, literary and photographic works.


“Dmitry was an extraordinary man. He was fully committed to his cause—to make the world a better place.  He gave it his all: his time, talent and money” said Augie K. Fabela, Zimin’s long-time friend and business partner, speaking from Cyprus. “The beauty of his legacy is that it will continue for decades.”


Dr. Zimin visiting TAU in April 2019 for the first Bi-annual International Workshop of the Zimin Institute (From right to left: Dr. Mark Shmulevich, Dr. Haim Ben-Yakov, Mr. Augie K. Fabela, Dr. Dmitry Zimin, Mr. Boris Zimin, Mr. Amos Elad)


Zimin was an accomplished scientist working in the radio industry when the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991. Then, at the age of 58, he founded VimpleCom, a mobile communications company. In 1997, VimpleCom became the first Russian business to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Zimin retired from his role as the company’s CEO in the early 2000’s and since then dedicated himself and his resources to philanthropy. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy by the Carnegie Trust.


“All the seeds that he has sown through his philanthropic activities have borne fruit and will continue to do so in the years to come,” said Rosa Hatzkelevich, Zimin’s long-time colleague and friend, speaking from Moscow.  


Also joining the memorial broadcast were Zimin’s wife Maya, son Boris, friends, colleagues, and many prominent public figures — writers, journalists, politicians and social activists.




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