May. 10, 2022

Eight talented individuals will receive honorary doctorates from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on Tuesday evening May 17, 2022, during the upcoming 52nd Board of Governors Meeting.

They include one author, one CEO, three philanthropists, one rabbi, one scientist, and one university chancellor from five different countries.

The recipients will be Sylvan Adams, Israel; Rabbi Denise L. Eger, USA; David Grossman, Israel; Timotheus Höttges, Germany; Cyndi and Max Mintzberg, Canada; Prof. Louise Richardson, United Kingdom; and Prof. Nahum Sonenberg, Canada & Israel.

Harold Paisner of the United Kingdom will receive the President's Award.

Honorary doctorate recipients in alphabetical order:

Sylvan Adams, Israel
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A Canadian-born businessman, philanthropist, and amateur cycling champion, he made Aliya in 2016. Adams previously served as CEO of the Montreal-based real estate firm Iberville Developments and was the sole shareholder of Summit International Bank.

Sylvan aims to show the world what he calls 'normal Israel' by presenting the true face of Israel, often negatively portrayed by media, to large audiences around the world. He has promoted this 'normal Israel' by bringing world-class cultural and sporting events to the country. Adams has famously brought Lionel Messi and the Argentinian National soccer team, Madonna to the Eurovision Song Contest, and the French Super Cup to Tel Aviv. Sylvan was also responsible for initiating and hosting the largest sporting event in the country's history; the "Grande Partenza" Big Start of the Giro d'Italia. These events brought Israel into the homes of literally billions of television viewers around the world.

He is also the only Israeli signatory to The Giving Pledge.

Photo Credit: Yediot Ahronot


Rabbi Denise L. Eger, USA
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She is the founding senior rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami, in West Hollywood, CA. She is past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the international organization of over 2,300 Reform Rabbis, where she served as the first openly gay or lesbian person in that position. She was also the first woman ever elected president of the Southern California Board of Rabbis which includes Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox Rabbis.

Rabbi Eger is the editor of the groundbreaking book, Mishkan Ga'avah: Where Pride Dwells: A Celebration of LGBTQ Jewish Life and Ritual (CCAR PRESS, 2020). This collection of LGBTQ prayers, poems, liturgy, and rituals is both a spiritual resource and a celebratory affirmation of Jewish diversity. Giving voice to the private and public sectors of queer Jewish experience and allies.

Photo Credit: Josh Friedman

David Grossman, Israel
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One of Israel's foremost authors, David Grossman's works include novels, novellas, short stories, a play, a children's opera, non-fiction works, an essay collection, and song lyrics. Grossman publishes articles regularly both in Israel and abroad.

His books have been translated into 45 languages and have won many prestigious awards including the Man Booker International Prize and the Israel Prize. They have also been adapted for theater, film, opera, and radio drama.

Photo Credit: Claudio Sfroza


Timotheus Höttges, Germany
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Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Deutsche Telekom AG since January 2014. Deutsche Telekom is the largest telecommunications provider in Europe by revenue.

Höttges joined Deutsche Telekom in 2000. He joined the company's board of directors in 2006 and in 2009 he became finance director rising to CEO in 2014.

Telekom Innovation Laboratories at BGU is the company's only R&D labs outside of Germany.

Photo Credit: Deutsche Telekom AG


Cyndi and Max Mintzberg, Canada
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Cyndi is a clothing and jewelry designer, who has designed clothing for fashion brands. She has also worked on interior design and architecture projects including one for a Jewish school in Western Canada.

Max is a successful mobile phone entrepreneur, first in Montreal and then in British Columbia in Western Canada.

They are enthusiastic supporters of the University.

Photo Credit: Tomas Frank – Frank Visuals


Prof. Louise Richardson, United Kingdom
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Professor Louise Richardson is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. She was previously Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St. Andrews.

A political scientist by training, Professor Richardson is recognized internationally as an expert on terrorism and counterterrorism. Her publications include Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (2007), What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat (2006), The Roots of Terrorism (2006), and When Allies Differ (1996).

Professor Richardson's awards include the Sumner Prize for work towards the prevention of war and the establishment of universal peace.

Photo Credit: John Cairns


Prof. Nahum Sonenberg, Canada & Israel
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A McGill University professor, he is a pioneer who shed light on the most fundamental translational control processes of protein synthesis. He was the first to discover the mRNA cap-binding protein responsible for the eukaryotic translation apparatus.

His findings on the role of protein translation in memory and synaptic plasticity opened a new field in neurobiology and lay the foundation for a better understanding of autism, fragile X syndrome, and processes of learning and memory.

His groundbreaking work on proteins that affect the progress of diseases has led to the development of innovative cancer therapies.

Photo Credit: Mr. Owen Egan


President's Award

Harold Paisner, United Kingdom
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A successful lawyer, he is the Senior Partner Emeritus at Berwin Leighton Paisner.

He has served as President of the Ben-Gurion University Foundation in the United Kingdom since 1997.

Photo Credit: Dr. Judith Paisner