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