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AUTUMN 2005

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University Honors Five with Honorary Doctorate
First Egyptian to Conduct in Israel Adds Highlight to Ceremony

The University toward the end of May conferred its highest award, the honorary doctorate, on five leading personalities in the fields of philanthropy, medicine, psychology, statistics, and the Hebrew language.
The conferment event, a formal academic ceremony, was followed by concert performed by the New Haifa Symphony Orchestra under the baton of a guest conductor, the Egyptian maestro, Ahmed El-Saedi. History was being made when following the academic ceremony, he conducted two movements from Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. It was the first time that an Egyptian conductor performed in Israel.
The evening’s festivities concluded the first of three full days of activity for the University’s governors who had assembled from Israel and abroad for the 33rd Meeting of the Board of Governors.
The conferees (in alphabetical order) were Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher of Israel, a linguist; Baroness Prof. Susan Greenfield of England, a pharmacologist; Mrs. Myra Hiatt Kraft of the USA, a philanthropist; Prof. Elizabeth F. Loftus of the USA, a psychologist; and Prof. Shelemyahu Zacks of the USA, a statistician. The venue was the University's Hecht Museum Auditorium.

Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher is president of Israel's Academy of the Hebrew Language and one of the foremost authorities in Hebrew and Jewish languages in the Diaspora in various periods of history. An Israel Prize Laureate, he holds the Chaim Nachman Bialik Chair in Research of the Hebrew Language at the Hebrew University and heads the Eliezer Ben-Yehuda Center for the Study of the History of Hebrew Language. He is a member of the central committee of the World Union for Jewish Studies. Bar-Asher called the occasion a “closing of a circle,” since he had first come to Haifa on Youth Aliya 53 years ago and later had taught at the institution that went on to develop into the University. He described the city and the University as a “meeting point of cultures” and referred to the Talmud’s discussion of accents in Haifa and nearby Tivon as reflecting this diversity long ago.

Baroness Prof. Susan Greenfield has focused much of her prodigious studies in pharmacology and in understanding the brain on deciphering the causes of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. She founded and heads several companies developing pharmaceutical and non-invasive approaches to these and other motor neuron diseases. In 2003, the Daily Mail placed her in a list of the 100 most influential women in Britain. She has been ranked as one of the 50 most inspirational women in the world, and was once named Woman of the Year. Earlier this year, Baroness Greenfield was appointed Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University. She has also been vocal in fighting attempts to boycott Israeli academics and institutions, including the most recent against the University of Haifa. Her first image of Haifa, Greenfield said, came on her first trip here 35 years ago. Now, in response to boycott attempts, she wanted to show how good Israel academia was and that it was committed to peace. “I am proud to be part of this University, to make a contribution to it,” she told the audience.

Mrs. Myra Kraft founded and is president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, just one of her myriad philanthropic projects. She is currently co-chairing the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston 2005 Campaign. Although much of her charitable activity for both Jewish and non-Jewish causes, especially children and youth, is conducted in the Boston area, she was the sole National Chair of the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in 2000. She and her husband Robert Kraft own the American football Super Bowl champions, New England Patriots. Kraft noted that she and the University’s new Management shared a common vision. It was, she explained, “synonymous with social justice and diversity.”

Prof. Elizabeth F. Loftus was recently rated 58 in a list of the most eminent 20th century psychologists. She was the highest ranking woman in the list. Loftus specializes in memory, and her studies on false recollection and repressed memories have led American courts to think twice about remembered eye-witness accounts. She now holds the rank of Distinguished Professor at the University of California at Irvine, with appointments in both its Law School and Dept. of Psychology. Loftus, whose practical activities emanating from her academic work has often been controversial, said she had “learned to accept the hassles that come when results matter.” Adding that “science is never dispassionate,” she told of the threats made by those with vested interests in theories and scientists whose political sensibilities were threatened.

Prof. Shelemyahu Zacks is considered one of the world's foremost statisticians and mathematicians, particularly in the field of probability. Director of the Center for Statistics Quality Control Design at the State University of New York at Binghamton, he has found solutions for problems in the areas of engineering, operations research, biology, physics, and health. In the military area, his work provided the logistics of the Polaris nuclear submarine. Zacks, who thanked his wife for helping him to arrive at his status, said he has sought to generalize statistical theories to general problems. Commenting that a good statistician should help solve scientific problems, he was of the opinion that “the best theories emanate from concrete problems.”

In This Issue:

The University Becomes a Little Like Annapolis (and West Point)

Supported Academic Learning Aids Students with Problems

Synagogue/Church Controversy and a Digestive Amulet
Mark University’s Dig at Hippos-Sussita

Golumbic Elected Israel’s 1st European Fellow

Prof. Asher Koriat Is 1st Recipient of Prestigious German Award

Intelligence Corps Wisely Chooses the University

Sweating Before an Audience—Working to Control a Phobia

Michael Wainer—University’s First Vice President for Finance
and Business Development

Prof. Eli Salzberger Elected Next Dean of Law Faculty

University Responds to Tulane Students' Needs

A Look Back at Graduation 2005

33rd Board of Governors Opens with Song and Story

University Honors Five with Honorary Doctorate
First Egyptian to Conduct in Israel Adds Highlight to Ceremony

Social Responsibility Reflected in a Wide Pool

New Recanati Lab Dedicated

 

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