The Ron­ald S. and Jo Ca­role Lauder Stu­dent Dor­mi­tory at Tech­nion-Is­rael In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy

The Jewish Voice - - SPECIAL FEATURES -

The Tech­nion, Is­rael In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, is the tech en­gine that drives the Startup Na­tion. The pres­ti­gious re­search univer­sity is also ded­i­cated to Is­rael’s prin­ci­ples of tol­er­ance and col­lab­o­ra­tion, fos­ter­ing di­a­logue be­tween Is­raelis of dif­fer­ent back­grounds.

That’s part of why Ron­ald S. Lauder and his wife, Jo Ca­role Lauder, do­nated $5 mil­lion to fund con­struc­tion of the Tech­nion’s new, state-of-the-art stu­dent hous­ing fa­cil­ity, which opened last month.

“My fam­ily and I are so pleased that the Lauder dor­mi­tory build­ing will serve as the home for hun­dreds of young peo­ple who are build­ing the fu­ture of the State of Is­rael and the Jew­ish Peo­ple,” Lauder, pres­i­dent of the World Jew­ish Congress, said. “When we vis­ited the Tech­nion about three years ago, we were struck by the vi­tal role this in­sti­tu­tion plays in ad­vanc­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion in Is­rael. I am deeply proud to be among the dis­tin­guished group of Friends of the Tech­nion.”

Founded in 1912 by lead­ers of the Zion­ist move­ment, the Tech­nion has been a source of many of the in­no­va­tions and break­throughs that have made Is­rael a tech­nol­ogy and startup pow­er­house. Tech­nion re­searchers and grad­u­ates have de­vel­oped new treat­ments for Alzheimer’s, more ef­fi­cient so­lar bat­ter­ies, and state-of-the-art mis­sile de­fense sys­tems. The in­sti­tute’s fac­ulty of 600 in­cludes three No­bel lau­re­ates.

It also serves all of Is­rael’s pop­u­la­tion, in­clud­ing Or­tho­dox and sec­u­lar Jews, Arabs, and im­mi­grants, and boasts a high per­cent­age of en­rolled women. When as­sign­ing dorms to stu­dents, the in­sti­tute gives pri­or­ity to peo­ple com­ing from a lower so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus, en­cour­ag­ing di­a­logue.

The Lauder build­ing is part of a new stu­dent hous­ing com­plex that has added over 400 beds to the Tech­nion’s grow­ing cam­pus in sleek, ul­tra-mod­ern dorms were de­signed by the ar­chi­tects Yael and Yaron Gra­not.

“The new dor­mi­to­ries, built through the do­na­tion of the Lauder fam­ily, will en­able stu­dents to in­vest their time and en­ergy in their de­mand­ing stud­ies,” said Is­raeli Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Naf­tali Ben­nett, who at­tended the rib­bon-cut­ting cer­e­mony June 13.

Some 45,000 stu­dents live in Haifa, where the Tech­nion is lo­cated. “The Lauder fam­ily’s investment in stu­dent dor­mi­to­ries is an im­por­tant and cor­rect investment for the Tech­nion and for Haifa,” said the city’s mayor, Yona Ya­hav, who praised the Lauder fam­ily for their decades of phi­lan­thropy.

Tech­nion Pres­i­dent Peretz Lavie, a pro­fes­sor of bi­o­log­i­cal psy­chol­ogy, noted the im­por­tance of qual­ity hous­ing to stu­dent life. “We as­sure you, as busi­ness­peo­ple, that in­vest­ing in Tech­nion stu­dents will gen­er­ate the best re­turn on investment ever,” he said.

The Laud­ers hopes their gift will in­spire oth­ers to sup­port build­ing projects, as well as spur greater investment by na­tional au­thor­i­ties. The fam­ily is sup­port­ing build­ing projects in Beer­sheva, Her­zliya, and Jerusalem, aimed at re­al­iz­ing the enor­mous po­ten­tial that lies ahead for Is­rael and for the en­tire Jew­ish peo­ple. The Lauder fam­ily’s phi­lan­thropy has also fo­cused on the in­ter­sec­tion of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and pre­serv­ing the past.

The Lauder Em­ploy­ment Cen­ter in the Beer­sheba re­stored and en­hanced of one of the city’s most his­toric sites, con­nect­ing the past with the needs of the present, in­clud­ing work­ing in con­cert with one of the re­gion’s premier ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, Ben Gu­rion Univer­sity. The fam­ily also spon­sors the Lauder School of Gov­ern­ment at the In­ter­dis­ci­plinary Cen­ter in Herzilya

For Is­rael, its re­search cen­ters and uni­ver­si­ties con­tinue to lead the way by prepar­ing so­ci­ety to solve 21st cen­tury prob­lems. But needs are surg­ing, es­pe­cially as pre­vi­ously un­der­rep­re­sented groups like Arabs and Haredim en­roll in in­creas­ing num­bers.

“The Tech­nion’s se­cret lies in its be­ing an in­te­gral part of Is­raeli so­ci­ety and of the vi­sion of the State of Is­rael,” said Ben­nett, the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter. “You are not hid­den away in an ivory tower. On the con­trary, you are con­nected to the Is­raeli ex­pe­ri­ence and op­er­ate out of a com­mit­ment to so­ci­ety.”

Is­rael’s boom­ing pop­u­la­tion, re­cent surges in Aliyah, ex­pan­sion of the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture and rail net­work, on­go­ing de­fense needs and the long-term strate­gic fo­cus on Galilee and Negev de­vel­op­ment mean that the de­mands for build­ing will con­tinue to grow.

“My fam­ily main­tains an in­tense at­tach­ment to and love of Is­rael,” said Mr. Lauder. “We are pas­sion­ate about our phi­lan­thropy, and our pledge is that we will con­tinue to in­vest in the growth and de­vel­op­ment of the eter­nal Jew­ish state.”

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