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October 15, 2009 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-10-15

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Up To The Task

Board chairman identifies .
Technion challenges.

ttracting the brightest
and best young faculty
and convincing the Israeli
government to reverse its higher
education appropriation cuts
are the most pressing issues
confronting the Technion-Israel
Institute of Technology.
The Detroit-bred chairman
of the International
Board of Governors
assures that the
13,000-student cam-
pus in Haifa is up to
the challenge.
On the faculty
front, Larry Jackier,
a Bloomfield Hills
attorney and past
president and
chairman of the
American Technion
Society, says new Technion
president Peretz Lavie "already
has attracted two people here
in the United States who fit our
hiring objectives and who are
coming to the Technion in the
next 12 months."
The funding struggle with the
Israeli government is shared by
Israel's six other universities.
The task will require "some real
tough work" as "we go about
inspiring a re-evaluation of the
whole perspective of Jewish
brain power and high education
in Israel," Jackier said.
Israeli tuition is kept low
because most students can't
afford the actual cost. So
the government is the pri-
mary source of operating funds,
Jackier said. "All the budget-cut-
ting makes it extremely difficult
to carry out our mission," he
said."It has become incredibly
important to effectively fund-
raise on behalf of the university."
The Technion, founded in
1924 in Haifa with 16 students
majoring in civil engineering and
architecture, moved to its pres-
ent campus on Mount Carmel in
1953. In the 1930s, the Technion
absorbed many Jewish scien-
tists fleeing Nazi Germany and








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October 15 s 2009


neighboring countries. In 1953,
it awarded its first doctorate in
electrical engineering.
The university has helped spur
Israel's economic shift from an
agrarian base to an industrial
base. It has elevated Israel's
technological advances in a
host of fields, including science,
medicine, education,
agriculture and natural
resources. Its computer
science program is an
international model.
Israel is home to the
greatest concentration
of high-tech, startup
companies anywhere
outside of the Silicon
Valley in California.
"Many Technion
graduates are leaders
or workers within industry and
business in the State of Israel,"
Jackier said.
According to the university,
Technion graduates comprise
the majority of Israeli-educated
scientists and engineers — 70
percent of the state's founders
and managers of high-tech
industries. Technion graduates
lead 80 percent of Israeli
NASDAQ companies.
Jackier is especially proud of
the Detroit investment at the
Technion. He cited two examples:
the Natural Water Research
Institute, funded primarily by for-
mer Detroiters Nancy and Steven
Grand and current Detroiters
Penny and Harold Blumenstein,
and the D. Dan and Betty Kahn
Mechanical Engineering Building,
which is under construction.
In an Oct. 5 interview with the
JN, Jackier announced a new
Technion initiative to enhance
the international flavor of the
student mix. More than 90 of the
current students are Israeli.
"This is in the beginning stag-
es," Jackier said, "but we want
to bring students from all over
the world to be educated at the
Technion. It's a very significant
and exciting endeavor." E_

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