Mortimer B. Zuckerman Honored with the Technion Medal

November 15, 2016
Jennifer Frey

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Technion President Peretz Lavie (l) and Mortimer B. Zuckerman

Mortimer B. Zuckerman was presented with the Technion Medal, the highest honor of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology at a dinner in New York City on November 14. A business leader and philanthropist, Mr. Zuckerman was honored for establishing the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program—a transformative initiative designed to foster collaboration between scientists in the U.S. and Israel.

In the Technion citation for the award, Mr. Zuckerman was recognized for his “visionary support of higher education in the United States and Israel, including the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program that will have a profound impact on the work of the scholars involved, strengthen existing collaborations between the United States and Israel and pave the road to future cooperation across multiple areas of science & technology.”

“The idea is to have Israelis study at the highest level of technology and science in America and vice versa, for Americans in Israel,” says Mr. Zuckerman. “The object is not just the intellectual accomplishments, but the establishment of connections that are personal, as well as professional. In this case one plus one here equals three. Each could bring the other to a level that they would never have had access to unless they had this kind of working relationship.”

More than 100 guests attended the event. During the pre-dinner reception, “Technion Innovators” demonstrated new technology that ranged from the next-generation baby monitor to a tongue-controlled assistive device for those who are disabled. Award-winning television news anchor Paula Zahn served as Master of Ceremonies.

Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie applauded Mr. Zuckerman’s vision in presenting him with the Technion Medal. “We proudly honor Mort for his foresight and leadership in building bridges between the U.S. and Israel through this game-changing initiative,” said Professor Lavie. “Collaboration and cooperation are crucial in today’s fast-paced world of science. This is a win-win for both countries.”

Under the Zuckerman Postdoctoral Scholars Program the highest-achieving researchers from the U.S will have the opportunity to study in Israel; the reverse holds true for Israeli students. For the academic year 2016-2017, six postdoctoral researchers from North America will collaborate with leading scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, as well as The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Rounding out the research exchange, four Israeli postdocs will study in the U.S.

In addition, the Zuckerman Faculty Scholars Program provides vital resources to the four Israeli universities, allowing them to compete with elite American institutions. Four Israeli 2016-2017 Faculty Scholars, who have been teaching in the U.S., will return to professorships in Israel.

By exposing American students to Israel’s renowned startup culture, the Zuckerman Scholars Program hopes to create a generation of innovative academic and industry leaders. As some Zuckerman postdocs accept faculty positions in North America, others settle in Israel, and many go back and forth, the program promises to create a network of academic collaboration and goodwill that will benefit scientific cooperation across the continents.

Mr. Zuckerman is the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News & World Report, the Chairman and Publisher of the New York Daily news, and the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Boson Properties, Inc. Long a champion for Israel, Mr. Zuckerman has served as Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. A proponent of higher education and science, he endowed the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University and sponsors the Zuckerman Fellows Program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The Technion Medal is reserved for exceptional individuals who have made unstinting efforts to advance humanity, and whose generous support has proved critical in advancing the Technion. Since its establishment in 1996, the Medal has been awarded only 15 times. Previous recipients include Qualcomm co-founder and Technion supporter Irwin M. Jacobs; Israel Supreme Court Justice Moshe Landau; former Technion President and celebrated Israeli military leader Gen. (Res.) Amos Horev; and Technion graduate and an early founder of Israel’s high-tech industry, Uzia Galil.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion — more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.