In conjunction with the launch of the CyberSpark Industry Initiative in Beer-Sheva on Tuesday, BGU announces a $5 million contribution from Carole and Marcus Weinstein of Richmond, Virginia. The funds will underwrite construction of the Carole and Marcus Weinstein Information Systems Engineering and Cyber Security Building on the Marcus Family Campus.
“Carole and I are excited to be supporting this new BGU project, especially during a time when Israel is facing threats to its security,” Marcus explains. “We’re also very concerned with cyber security and believe that the University’s impressive experts in the field will provide groundbreaking research and development, as well as new technologies that will help keep Israel and the world more secure. It is our privilege to provide them the state-of-the art facilities to make that happen.”
The new Carole and Marcus Weinstein Information Systems Engineering and Cyber Security Building (1580 sq. m.) will house laboratories, classrooms, auditoriums, conference rooms, and offices, accommodating the various needs of information systems engineering and cyber security training and research. The groundbreaking will take place in November 2014.
“Carole and Marcus came into our lives unexpectedly during Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012 when no other visitor was seen on campus. Their passion for Jewish heritage and the security of Israel, their courage and generosity were electrifying and we all fell in love with them. We are so privileged to have the Weinsteins as partners for our vision for the Negev, and the State of Israel. You cannot ask for better friends and allies,” says BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi.
“The University will leverage its connections with industry and the public sector to turn cyber security research into a game changer for Beer-Sheva and the South. The construction of this building will further enhance the University’s capabilities in this critical and globally relevant field,” adds Prof. Dan Blumberg, BGU’s VP and Dean, R&D.
Marcus Weinstein, now semi-retired, founded Weinstein Properties in 1962, and although he continues to mentor the three co-presidents—his daughter, Allison Weinstein, as chief executive officer; his son-in-law, Ivan Jecklin, as chief operation officer, and John Lancaster, chief financial officer—he and Carole now have time to focus on their civic and philanthropic activities. The private real estate company owns and manages 14,000 apartments in Virginia and North Carolina among other real estate holdings.
BGU is a central component of the new "CyberSpark" initiative, a complete eco-system with all the components for global leadership in the cyber field. It is the only one of its type in the world that is a government-academic-industry partnership and includes Fortune 500 companies and cyber-incubators, academic researchers and educational facilities, as well as national government and security agencies. The launch of the coordinating company, CyberSpark Industry Initiative, drew over a hundred serious players from around the country.
“Ultimately, we were impressed with the caliber of cyber researchers we met, and with the vision for the cyber security direction presented to us by BGU’s president, Rivka Carmi, that will help both Israel and America,” says Carole. She added that Prof. Carmi has become a personal friend whom she much admires for her leadership, her intelligence and her integrity. “Rivka embodies the spirit of David Ben-Gurion, who understood the value of the Negev and the crucial role the desert would have in Israel’s future.”
Among their other philanthropic endeavors, the Weinsteins are major supporters of the University of Richmond where they graduated, Marcus in 1949 and Carole in 1963. They have endowed three buildings on the Richmond campus. The most recent, the Carole Weinstein International Center, is a highly ranked school for international studies. They have also provided significant funding for the Carole & Marcus Weinstein Jewish Community Center, scholarships at Virginia Commonwealth University and Davidson College in North Carolina, as well as the Virginia Historical Society and the Library of Virginia. In Israel, they are also supporters of the University of Haifa.