January 7, 2016 – In a festive ceremony held Tuesday, January 5, the University of Haifa renamed the Faculty of Social Sciences after University friends Paul and Herta Amir. Thanks to their $10 million gift, the single largest gift ever given to the University of Haifa by a donor for one project, four additional floors will be added to the existing buildings of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the department will be expanded.
“This gift from Paul and Herta Amir,” said Amos Shapira, President of the University of Haifa, “is further testimony to their steadfast connection with the State of Israel in general and the University of Haifa in particular, and to the value they place on education in Israel. Their generosity will allow us to continue our efforts at the University of Haifa, both in research and in educating future generations of Israelis.”
“The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa is one of the best in Israel,” President Shapira continued, “and with this generous gift from Paul and Herta Amir we can make it even better. The great challenge in academic development is the ability to bring new and outstanding researchers into our fold and provide them with the infrastructure they need in order to conduct excellent research – equipment, laboratories, PhD fellowships and more. This gift will allow us to create such a new infrastructure for the benefit of our students and researchers.”
This gift will stimulate significant development of academic research and teaching at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Four additional floors will be added to the Buildings of the Faculty of Social Sciences, new laboratories will be established and new young Faculty members will be recruited.
The connection among Paul and Herta Amir, the State of Israel and the University of Haifa is a longstanding one. Mr. & Mrs. Amir have previously supported the University of Haifa’s School of the Arts building, the National Security Studies Center, scholarships, and a program designed to recruit and integrate returning scientists, in addition to other projects. Mr. Amir has served as the Chairman of the American Friends of the University of Haifa. The Amirs have donated to many other institutions in Israel, including the Tel Aviv Museum and the Rambam Medical Center.
During the signing ceremony, Herta Amir said: “We feel very fortunate that we have the ability to contribute to the University of Haifa, an institution that is educating the next generation of all sectors of Israeli society. The task of the next generation is to continue to build the society, and it is our job to give the tools for them to do so through an outstanding education. It is the responsibility of all of us here. ”
Paul Amir moved the crowd when he spoke of his arrival in Israel in 1946 as part of Aliyat Hanoar (Youth Aliyah) at the end of World War II. “When I came to Israel in 1946, Haifa was the first place I came to. It was the first time in my life I was treated like a man. Then I started working at the Port of Haifa in 1947. Since then, I have always had a special bond with the north of Israel and I have always believed that the development of the north is of the highest importance. That is the reason for our special bond with the University of Haifa.”
When reflecting on the importance of this gift, Karen Berman, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa adds, “This is a transformational gift. Not only does it allow us to grow our Social Sciences program, but it represents the expanding relationship between the University and its American supporters who realize how critical the University of Haifa is to the future of Israel.”