University of Haifa Focus

Presidential Column
The First 25


This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the accreditation of the University of Haifa as a degree-granting institution of higher education in Israel. What have we accomplished during this relatively short period of time?

To put it simply--we have grown, we have developed, and advanced. Overall student enrollment was some 3,000 at the time of our independence; today, it is over 12,000. The University offered two Faculties--Humanities and Social Sciences; now it has five--Law, Social Welfare & Health Studies and Education have been added. The first Masterís program had just been set up in 1971 and there were no doctoral studies; this year finds a Masterís program in almost every department and the right to confer the Ph.D. in every department granting a Masterís degree. Where once the University could count a couple of hundred Masterís degree candidates, they now number several thousand, comprising twenty percent of the student body. The Graduate School is, in fact, the fastest growing segment of the University.

The physical plant in the early days of the University consisted of the Multi-purpose Building, with the Main Building under construction. The design of the campus is presently being guided by a New Master Plan. The 30-story Eshkol Tower, topped off in 1978, may be the tallest building on the grounds of an Israeli university, but in terms of floor space, it will be superseded by the Rabin Complex for the Social Sciences and Mathematics, whose formal dedication will come at our next Board of Governors Meeting. At one end of the campus, new dormitories are presently under construction; at the other end, space has been cleared for the IBM Science and Technology Center; in between, the Terrace Building now finds itself in the shadows of two higher levels of buildings. Still more buildings are in the design stage.

The past two and a half decades have seen the opening of the only archeological museum on an Israeli campus, the Hecht Museum, now undergoing both expansion; along side it will rise a small museum devoted to the Phoenician merchantman that University researchers have preserved. The University Library, its services fully computerized, is one of the leading facilities of its kind. A measure of the quality of the academic staff are the number of invitations received to lecture abroad and the prestigious grants awarded faculty members.

The first twenty-five years, then, have been devoted to growth and development. These years have provided the silver underpinning, as it were, to enable us to stand upright and look to the more distant future. Strategic planning and the pursuit of excellence at all levels have accordingly become operative goals for the next twenty-five years.

Silver, whether in English or in Hebrew, means both the metal and the coin, connoting of course money. With the continued and growing support of our friends in both Israel and around the world, we will be able to accomplish the vital goals that make the University of Haifa unique. I have no doubt that at the next jubilee, the then-president will associate the gold of the Universityís golden anniversary with the need to raise funds to be able to attain beneficial objectives. I am sure that this future president will be able to talk about the golden threads woven during the past twenty-five years that allow the University of Haifa to sit firmly in the ranks of the foremost institutions of higher education anywhere.
Yehuda Hayuth

Back to Table of Contents