May. 13, 2015


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev bestowed honorary doctorates on seven ground-breaking scientists, inventors and philanthropists on Tuesday evening May 12, 2015 in the Cummings Plaza on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva. Four out of the seven were distinguished women scientists. The ceremony was held during the 45th Board of Governors Meeting.  

"In Proverbs chapter 4: we read: 'Wisdom is of utmost importance, therefore get wisdom, and with all your effort work to acquire understanding. "All of the people being honored this evening have sought wisdom, supported it and have used it for the good of mankind," declared BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi at the ceremony.  

In lieu of individual speeches, short biographical movies were shown. The links to the movies can be found below.  

Each recipient was provided with an individualized scroll, excerpts appear below.  

The recipients included: 


Prof. Jill Banfield, USA
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Professor in the Departments of Earth and Planetary Science and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. She also has an appointment in the geochemistry group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her research interests are in geomicrobiology - study of how microorganisms shape, and are shaped by, their natural environments. Virtually all projects are tied to a field site. Current locations of study are Iron Mountain (northern California), the Angelo Reserve (northern California), the Rifle site, Colorado, and Lake Tyrrell, Victoria, Australia.   

Scroll: "To an internationally acclaimed expert, for her pioneering work on the impact of microbes and microbial processes on the environment, and for the exceptional creativity that led her to employ novel genetic methods for the characterization of this unique ecosystem under extreme natural conditions." 


Prof. Adele Diamond, Canada
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Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia (UBC). One of the pioneers in the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Adele Diamond is at the forefront of research on the executive functions which depend on prefrontal cortex and interrelated brain regions.

Executive functions include 'thinking outside the box' (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating ideas and facts (working memory), and giving considered responses rather than impulsive ones, resisting temptations and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention). Recently, she has turned her attention to the possible roles of traditional activities, such as music and dance, in improving executive functions, academic outcomes, and mental health.  

Scroll: "In acknowledgement of a brilliant researcher, among the founders of the field of cognitive developmental neuroscience, whose groundbreaking discoveries have led to worldwide improvements in the treatment of cognitive and attention disorders, thus enhancing the lives of thousands of patients worldwide."  


Prof. Carol Gilligan, USA
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American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist, Professor at New York University and a Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge. She is best known for her 1982 work, In a Different Voice in which she outlined difference feminism. Psychology, Gilligan argued, had been unknowingly ignoring the voices and experiences of half the human race.  Difference feminism, as her perspective has come to be called, highlights the different qualities of both men and women, but asserts that no value judgment can be placed upon them.   

Scroll: In acknowledgment of an exceptionally accomplished researcher and writer, who substantially expanded the breadth of knowledge regarding a girl's transformation into womanhood and human beings' moral development; in appreciation of an outstanding scientist, whose seminal books – translated into many languages – constitute invaluable cultural assets, for the admirable pursuit of justice and sense of responsibility that have guided her fearless struggle against oppression, discrimination and exclusion of all kinds.”   


Prof. Anne Glover, UK
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Scottish biologist and Professor of Molecular biology and Cell biology at the University of Aberdeen. She also served as Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission from 2012 to 2014. In February 2013 she was appointed to chair the newly created Science and Technology Advisory Council to the President. In 1999 she commercialized some of her biosensor technology into a successful company which diagnoses environmental pollution and provides solutions for its clean-up.  

Scroll: In appreciation of an extraordinary researcher in the fields of molecular and cell biology, whose innovative study of the human body's response to stress at the molecular level sheds light on the aging process.”  


Alexander M. Goren, USA
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Chairman of the Board of Governors and past President of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Alex’s career encompassed portfolio management in Montreal, financial analysis in Milan, merchant banking in London, managing the FIAT distributorship in Israel, and investments and real estate in New York City. He is a partner in Goren Brothers, a Manhattan money management and real estate company. 

Alex’s relationship with BGU started in 1972. His family owned a very large spinning mill in Dimona, the sale of which provided the initial funding for the Cukier, Goldstein-Goren Foundation. Ever since, the foundation has been a great friend to BGU, playing a key role in its development and spanning a three-generation tradition of philanthropy. It funded the construction of the Cukier, Goldstein–Goren Building, home to the Pinchas Sapir Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  

Subsequently, it established the Goldstein–Goren Department of Jewish Thought and the Goldstein-Goren International Center for Jewish Thought, as well as a fund for student loans, which was converted into a student scholarship fund in 2005. Most recently the Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering was named in memory of the foundation’s founder and his wife.  

Scroll: “With gratitude for a magnanimous and passionate Zionist, whose family has been associated with the University since its inception, for upholding an illustrious tradition of giving, contributing to its physical growth and academic achievement, thus demonstrating his profound commitment and unwavering belief in its promising future and in its importance to the residents of the Negev and the State of Israel.”  


Prof. Jacques Lewiner, France
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Physicist and Inventor. He is Professor and Honorary Scientific Director of Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris (ESPCI ParisTech). He has filed a large number of patent applications leading to industrial development. He has participated in the creation of various technology-oriented startup companies, for instance Inventel, specializing in Telecommunications, Finsécur which develops and markets fire detection systems, Cynove in embedded electronics devices, Cytoo which develops and manufactures cell system analysis. Most of these companies have experienced a strong (and in some case spectacular) growth.  

Conscious of the importance of making science accessible to the general public, he founded with Pierre-Gilles de Gennes l'Espace des Sciences de Paris (recently renamed “Espace Pierre-Gilles de Gennes”). Conferences for non-specialized audiences are organized as well as short internships for children. It has become one of the pillars of the “la main à la pâte,” a new approach to teaching science to children, initiated in France by Georges Charpak.  

Scroll: “In appreciation of an ingenious physicist and inventor, whose original research has yielded invaluable innovations and industrial applications; with high regard for an eminent scientist, whose wide-ranging work integrates basic and applied physics, for his numerous publications illuminating the domain of electromagnetism.” 


Lorry I. Lokey, USA
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American businessperson and philanthropist. A native of Portland, Oregon, he founded the international media relations wire service Business Wire in 1961 and has donated in excess of $700 million to charities, with the majority of the money given to schools. These efforts led to his listing as one of the ten highest donors in the United States by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2006.  

The Lorry I. Lokey Chemistry Building is being constructed on the Marcus Family Campus.  

Scroll: “In appreciation of a member of the President's Pillars and new member of the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, for his contribution to the construction of a chemistry building and for his ardent friendship and extraordinary devotion to the welfare of the students and of the community at large.”