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Creating Synergy between Research and Development

The Susan and Henry Samueli Engineering Building creates a new model for academy-industry ties

One of Tel Aviv University’s most ambitious collaborations to date is being realized through the vision of Prof. Henry Samueli, co-founder and CTO of semiconductor giant Broadcom Inc., and his wife Dr. Susan Samueli. The new R&D center for Broadcom being built on the TAU campus will be dedicated in their name. The Building is unique in that it will house Broadcom engineers and TAU professors and students – all under one roof.  

The state-of-the-art building, which is currently under construction, will comprise 160,000 sq. ft. total, of which 50,000 sq. ft. will be allocated for Faculty of Engineering labs, classrooms and offices. The Building will serve 3,900 students – 1,300 of them on MSc and PhD level.

TAU President Klafter said at the cornerstone-laying ceremony, “This project goes beyond a beautiful, large and impressive facility – to reshape the very structure of the university-industry partnership. It represents a new model for TAU, for Israel and most probably for the world.” He noted that it would enable TAU students to work on projects with Broadcom engineers, while showcasing the best young talent to Broadcom.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the Samuelis; Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai; Vice President of Broadcom Dr. Shlomo Markel; TAU Director General Gadi Frank; TAU Vice President for R&D Yoav Henis; Dean of Engineering Yossi Rosenwaks; Broadcom site managers, and friends of TAU, Broadcom and of the Samueli family. The ceremony was emceed by TAU Vice President for Resource Development Amos Elad.

Prof. Klafter said that the ceremony marked “the continuation of a beautiful friendship” that began some ten years ago when he met with Prof. Samueli in California. This includes longtime support by the Broadcom Foundation for scholarships, TAU’s Youth University, and joint workshops in computer science and engineering with UC Irvine.

Prof. Klafter acknowledged the warm and active part taken by Dr. Shlomo Markel, who is also Chairman of the TAU technology venture arm, Ramot, in facilitating the project. “Through this friendship a great many collaborations were born between TAU and Broadcom,” said Prof. Klafter. “Shlomo has been the matchmaker, the rabbi and the midwife – all rolled into one.”  

Prof. Klafter also stressed that a large proportion of the donation was earmarked for the Susan and Henry Samueli Engineering and Health Research Fund, “a tremendous gift that will infuse our research and teaching in these fields with fresh resources in perpetuity.” Support will be channeled to a wide spectrum of fields such as communications, national security, medical diagnostics and treatments, integrative health, and drug development.

Dr. Markel said, “It’s important to be a scholar and understand technology, but the most important thing is to be a good person. Henry and Susan are wonderful people whose generous philanthropy has focused on higher education, on integrative health and medicine, on children and youth, on Jewish heritage and culture, and on many other areas. This is in addition to their personal achievements in and contributions to academia and industry.”

Special relationship with TAU

In his response, Prof. Samueli said, “I wear three hats. All are represented by my relationship with Tel Aviv University. My first hat is as director, officer and founder of Broadcom; my second hat is as chair of the Broadcom Foundation, which supports research projects, STEM initiatives, and academic collaborations and partnerships; and my third hat is as manager, with Susan, of our philanthropy through the Samueli Foundation.”  

Samueli noted that the Samueli Foundation supports only two other universities: his alma mater UCLA and “residence university” UC Irvine. “Tel Aviv University is the first university we are supporting outside of those two. It takes many years to build up a personal relationship and trust with a university, including with its president and deans, and that is what we have achieved here,” he said. Samueli also said that giving to Tel Aviv University symbolized the couples’ love of Israel and of Jewish values and religion.

Following the formal part of the ceremony, which was held in the Josef and Raya Jaglom Auditorium, the ceremony moved to the building site which is on the northeastern edge of the campus adjacent to the existing Wolfson Building for Software Engineering and the Wolfson Building for Mechanical Engineering. At the site, the Samueli family donned hard hats and safety vests to lay the cornerstone and unveil a sign.

 

 

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