A virtual dedication ceremony of the Lorry I. Lokey Chemistry Building was held last week from BGU's Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva for the benefit of the benefactor. The five-story 6,300 square meter building will offer the latest state-of-the-art laboratories and workspaces for one of the leading chemistry departments in Israel.
In addition to the current spaces, the building is designed to be modular to meet the future needs of the department as well.
"Shalom and best wishes from Atherton, California. This is one of the best investments I have made, and you might wonder why, because I have made a lot of investments in a lot of buildings in a lot of schools," Lorry Lokey said via Zoom message, "I made this investment because I am betting on the future of what Ben-Gurion University offers Israeli students. Ben-Gurion is on the edge of the desert. Ben-Gurion himself said that the desert is Israel's future. Ben-Gurion, being on the edge of that future, has a wonderful opportunity to educate and prepare for life 5,000 new students a year. Out of that 5,000, several hundred will be going into chemistry each year. Can you imagine over the next hundred years that this building exists, can you imagine 500 students a year? We are looking at 15,000 kids, and probably a lot more than that, benefiting from this building over the years to come. From that total, there are going to be some future world-famous chemists that will have done things to improve life, to save lives, to build lives."
"Ben-Gurion University, in the 20 years since I first saw it, has become such a magnificent institution. Its future is bright. Its students are brilliant, and the world is a better place because of Ben-Gurion University," he added.
Above: Lorry Lokey receiving an honorary doctorate from Ben-Gurion University in 2015.
"Lorry Lokey is a unique individual. A genius in the world of business. A genius in the world of philanthropy. He has dedicated his life, not to building palaces for himself, but to building palaces for research and higher education," Ben-Gurion University President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz said in his address. "The chemistry department here at BGU is a paradigm of excellence. We have assembled the best young cadre of chemistry researchers anywhere in Israel. As BGU enters its next 50 years, this department will serve as an example of what we are striving for."
Above: Left to right: BGU Faculty of Natural Sciences Dean Prof. Gabriel Lemcoff, Department of Chemistry Chair Prof. Gonen Ashkenasy, President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, Director-General David Bareket, Rector Prof. Chaim Hames dedicate the Lorry I. Lokey Chemistry Building on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva.
"This building is a palace where dreamers and practitioners are going to sit together to imagine solutions to the world's greatest problems," Vice President for Public Affairs and Resource Development Jeff Kaye declared.
"I am very excited to finally have all of the chemistry department united under one roof. This building will allow us to continue the amazing growth of the department into one of the best in the world," Prof. Gabriel Lemcoff, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and former chair of the Department of Chemistry said.
Above: The facade of the Lorry I. Lokey Building showing the chemistry symbols
"Now our research groups will be located close together after more than 40 years – fostering cooperation and discussion among researchers, allowing us to share state-of-the-art equipment and devise new experiments," added Prof. Gonen Ashkenasy, chair of the Department of Chemistry.
"Lorry, you are so well known for having signed the Giving Pledge, today it is our turn to pledge to you. We will cherish your investment for evermore and we will never miss a single moment in our quest to make the world a better place," concluded VP Jeff Kaye.
The cornerstone laying ceremony for the building was held in 2014 and Ben-Gurion University awarded Lorry Lokey an honorary doctorate in 2015.
From a safety and environmental standpoint, the building was constructed with the latest safety systems and designed to minimize running costs.
Lorry I. Lokey founded Business Wire, a news wire service, in the early 1960s and built it into a thriving company before selling the business to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway many years later. He has donated hundreds of millions of dollars, mainly to educational institutions, in Oregon, Israel and other places. He is a proud signatory of the Giving Pledge. Today, he resides in Atherton, California.