Ben-Gurion receives largest-ever university bequest

A US$400 million gift to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev from the estate of Dr Howard and Lottie Marcus of California on 24 June, earmarked in large part for water research, is the largest-ever bequest in Israel, reports JTA.

The Marcuses, who became involved with Ben-Gurion University, or BGU, in 1997, were fascinated by the university’s work in desalination and desert farming. “They believed that peace could come to the Middle East if water scarcity could be addressed,” said the university’s American fundraising organisation’s south-west regional director Philip Gomperts in a statement. But they were interested in Israel for other reasons as well, having fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

The gift will establish a permanent endowment that is expected to yield assets that more than double the size of the current university endowment, according to American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. A substantial portion is earmarked for BGU’s water research at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, which studies sustainable use of water resources, desalination technologies, water quality and microbiology.
Full report on the Haaretz site