Ben-Gurion University of the Negev bestowed an honorary doctorate on famed sex researcher and therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer (pictured below) this week during the Americans for Ben-Gurion University virtual event "Celebrating the Remarkable." It is Dr. Ruth's first honorary doctorate from an Israeli university.
Photo credit: Dr. Ruth Westheimer
The honorary doctorate scroll reads:
In recognition of a trailblazing researcher and therapist who advanced the field of human sexuality and revolutionized its public discussion; with admiration for her unique and bold media persona as the authority on sex education, advancing the popular understanding of sexuality through groundbreaking radio and television shows, and winning the hearts of her audiences with her unflagging enthusiasm; with respect for an erudite scholar, author of dozens of books, who has given generously of her time and energy to public speaking and educating the next generation of students and researchers; in tribute to a true friend of the State of Israel, who lost her entire family in the Holocaust, made Aliyah, fought fearlessly for the survival of the fledgling state and was severely injured in the War of Independence; with heartfelt appreciation for her generous support of psychology students at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; and with sincere gratitude for speaking publicly, freely and openly about private, often hidden, matters that are nonetheless the bedrock of our existence; and for decades of singular activity that has profoundly affected the lives of people across the globe.
BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz praised her extensively, "The Honorary Doctorate is the highest academic honor that our university bestows. We award honorary degrees to persons who have distinguished themselves by academic or creative excellence, or through activities of notable benefit to society and humanity as a whole. We bestow the Doctorate honoris causa upon individuals who exemplify the characteristics that we wish to hold up as inspiration to our students, and as role models for our own community of scientists, scholars and supporters.
"Dr. Ruth Westheimer clearly represents all these values, and more. Courage, to survive as a child of the Holocaust, to fight for the founding of Israel, to build new lives in new countries, and courage to break accepted codes of what is to be discussed in public. Persistence, to continue despite resistance, creativity to create culture, dialogue, books, and shows.
Dr. Ruth, your commitment to taking sexuality out of the clinic and into the living room, bettered the lives of millions. By accepting an honorary degree from BGU, you provide us a mirror through which we hope to see a bit of ourselves, and honor our institution and what it stands for," he said.
Prof. Chamovitz also thanked Dr. Westheimer for helping to secure scholarships for pyschology students.
"Dr. Ruth, thank you for helping us raise funds for the Dr. Ruth Westheimer Scholarship in Psychology, which will be awarded annually to two outstanding students. In this way, your name will be tied to BGU forever. I am looking forward to your next trip to Israel, so that you can bestow these scholarships in person," he told her.