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BGU Milestones


A glance at BGU's history

  • ​The Government Committee for Science and Technology accepts the Gillis Committee’s reco​​mmendation to found a “University of the Negev.”

  • The Department of Behavioral Sciences begins functioning. The first department of its kind in the country, it offers studies in psychology, sociology and anthropology.

  • The Faculty of Natural Sciences is​ established.
  • Due to lack of space, the first dean of students sets up offices on the lawn in a Bedouin tent.
  • On the first anniversary of the death of David Tuviyahu, the campus - a former immigrant hostel - is renamed the David Tuviyahu Campus (located opposite Beer-Sheva’s hotel).
  • The University acquires land for a new campus; a cornerstone is laid for the Zalman Aranne Central Library in 1970 — the first building to be erected.
  • On May 30, 1972 the first president-designate of the University, Prof. Aharon Katzir, is killed in a terrorist attack at Lod Airport.
  • Prof. Moshe Prywes becomes the first president of the University in 1972.
  • In 1973, 33 students, teachers and administrative staff are killed in the Yom Kippur War.
  • The Community Action Unit is established.
  • Following the death of David Ben-Gurion in 1973, the Board of Governors officially changes the University’s name to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
  • Prof. Moshe Prywes resigns as president in 1975 to assume full-time responsibility as the first dean of the medical school, which he dubbed “the Beer-Sheva Experiment.”
  • The Faculty of Health Sciences is inaugurated. Guests at the ceremony include Prime Minister Golda Meir and Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Thirty-four students (selected from 662 applicants) comprise the first class of the medical school.
  • Ambassador Yosef Tekoah becomes the University’s second president in 1975.
  • As a result of Soviet policies toward Jewish emigration, the University adopts several academic Prisoners of Zion, appointing them professors in absentia.
  • The Knesset passes the Ben-Gurion Law, stating that three institutions are to be established to perpetuate Ben-Gurion’s memory: the Ben-Gurion House in Tel Aviv, the Ben-Gurion Heritage Institute in Sede Boqer and the Institute for Desert Research, which is to be a part of Ben-Gurion University.
  • ​The number of students rises from 1,300 to 4,038; among 700 faculty members, 150 are new immigrants.

  • A Master Plan for the Development of the Negev to the Year 2000, co-sponsored by BGU, is presented to the Knesset.
  • BGU, under the auspices of the Community Action Unit and together with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, introduces 20 “Open Apartments” in disadvantaged neighborhoods where students will live rent-free in exchange for community service.
  • Under the auspices of the World Health Organization, Iranian medical educators visit the Faculty of Health Sciences. As a result of the visit, two medical schools are set up in Iran along the lines of the “Beer-Sheva Experiment.”​
  • May 27, 1979 marks the historic visit of Israeli Prime Minister ​Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar al Sadat to the BGU campus to sign a formal peace treaty.

Anwar al Sadat
Anwar al Sadat

  • The Leon and Mathilde Recanati School for Community Health Professions is established.
  • The first adobe house, heated entirely by solar energy, is planned and built by the desert architecture unit of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research in Sede Boqer.
  • Advanced Products, Ltd., known today as B.G. Negev Technologies and Applications, Ltd., (BGN) is established to advance knowledge and patents that are produced by BGU research.
  • President Yosef Tekoah is appointed to the post of chancellor. He is succeeded as president by Major General Shlomo Gazit in 1981.
  • The opening of the school year is postponed in 1982 as a result of the war in Lebanon.
  • The Overseas Study Program begins operation. Today it is known as the Ginsburg-Ingerman Overseas Student Program.
  • Prof. Chaim Elata becomes BGU’s fourth president, serving his first year in 1985 as both rector and president.​
  • ​The first Bedouin woman graduates from an Israeli university. Shifa el-Houzayil receives her degree in social work from BGU.
  • A pre-academic course opens to meet the needs of the massive influx of new immigrants from the Soviet Union.
  • The Gate of Peace is dedicated in 1989 in commemoration of the historic visit 10 years earlier of Menachem Begin and Anwar al Sadat.
The Gate of Peace
The Gate of Peace
  • Prof. Avishay Braverman is elected president of the University in 1990.
  • ​The Charlotte B. and Jack J. Spitzer Department of Social Work organizes a course in the Development of Support Systems for Immigrant Absorption.

  • The Ben-Gurion National Center for Solar Energy is established.
  • Final exams and the opening of the second semester are delayed as a result of the Gulf War in January 1991
  • The Department of Life Sciences celebrates its 25th anniversary in 1991.
  • Relative to its size, BGU has absorbed more immigrant researchers and students than any other academic institution in the country. Chairman Bob Arnow announces a special fund to aid immigrant students and faculty in memory of Chancellor Yosef Tekoah.
  • BGU engages in various cooperative projects with Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and the Gaza Strip. Agreements for cooperation are signed with institutions in Argentina, Russia and France.
  • UNESCO endorses the BGU-initiated International Program for Arid Land Crops. It is the first time a UN organization consults an Israeli institution for expertise.
  • ​The number of students reaches 10,000.
  • ​The Medical School is named the Joyce and Irving Goldman Medical School at a special ceremony in 1996.
  • The Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies is established in 1996, serving as the framework for all graduate studies.
  • The School of Management is established in 1996 with five departments, offering for the first time a complete MBA degree.
  • The Albert Katz International School for Desert Studies is established at the Blaustein Institute in Sede Boqer.
  • ​The M.D. Program for International Health opens in collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center, later called the Medical School for International Health.
  • ​The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research is inaugurated. The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research are reconfigured to incorporate three institutes of research.
  • The pharmacology program is created, later to become the School of Pharmacy — the second one in Israel.
  • In 2003, the Pilot’s Training Course is launched, providing a full academic curriculum for cadets of the Israel Air Force and resulting in a bachelor’s degree.
  • The Eilat Campus opens as an integral part of BGU and regional development.
  • The Honors MBA Program begins in the fall of 2003 – the only full-time, English-taught program of its kind in Israel.
  • ​At a dedication cerem​​ony in March 2005, the Beer-Sheva campus is named the Marcus Family Campus in honor of the generosity of Howard W. and Lottie R. Marcus.
  • ​Prof. Rivka Carmi, M.D. becomes the president of BGU in 2006, the first and only woman to head an Israeli university.
  • Deutsche Telekom opens its first and only research facility outside of Germany at Ben-Gurion University.
  • Prof. Ya’akov Blidstein wins BGU’s first academic Israel Prize for Jewish Thought.
  • BGU opens its facilities to residents of Northern Israel under attack by Hezbollah rockets in the Israel-Hezbollah War.
  • For the first time ever, a conference under the auspices of the UN is held in Israel in November 2006. Deserts and Desertification: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by BGU’s Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, is now a biannual event.
  • A nationwide study reveals BGU is the number one choice of Israeli undergraduate students.
  • BGU graduates Israel’s first female Bedouin physician.
  • BGU establishes an accredited master’s degree program in Tourism and Hotel Management, the only one of its kind in Israel.
  • The 11-year-old School of Management is named the Guilford Glazer School of Business and Management in 2007. In 2010, it becomes BGU’s fifth Faculty.
  • The groundbreaking of the 150-acre Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) takes place in the presence of the Israeli prime minister and other dignitaries.
  • BGU establishes an accredited master’s degree program in Emergency Medicine Management, the only one of its kind in Israel.
  • BGU is awarded formal accreditation as a “Green Campus,” an initiative of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Council for Higher Education.
  • In 2009, BGU’s student population grows to more than 20,000, reflecting an unprecedented increase, unparalleled by any other Israeli university.
  • By 2009, BGU's student population grew to more than 20,000, reflecting unprecedented and unparalleled growth.​
  • ​As plans for the relocation of various IDF intelligence and technology to the south are consolidated, the University begins planning for a significant growth in enrollment and launches a massive building and renewal program to expand classroom, office and laboratory space.
  • Plans are made for the expansion of the main Beer-Sheva campus by developing the adjacent North Campus. Chyutin Architects drew up a master plan.
  • The Mandel social Leadership MBA program was created.
  • An international program in Israel Studies was launched at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism.
  • The Ben-Gurion National Solar Energy Center in Sede Boqer was dedicated. As an additional part of BGU's Energy Initiative, A National Center of Research Excellence (I-Core) in the field of renewable liquid fuels, led by BGU researchers, was established in 2012
  • The University Center for External Studies was established to strengthen the connection to the general public through a range of programs that promote intellectual, cultural and professional enrichment to the Negev's residents.
  • BG Racing, a student engineering project to build a functioning race car, took first place among new entries at the international Formula SAE competition.
  • PrePared Center for Emergency Response Research established to conduct cutting edge research and improve preparedness.
  • The Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) adjacent to BGU's Marcus Family Campus opened in September 2013. The ATP, a partnership between the Beer-Sheva Municipality, BGU and Gav-Yam, grows quickly to become the home for a thriving hi-tech ecosystem. IBM, Oracle, Lockheed Martin, and Dell-EMC join Deutsche Telekom in establishing research centers at the ATP and sign research collaboration agreements with the BGU
  • Cyberspark: The Israeli Cyber Innovation Arena, a collaboration between the National cyber Bureau, BGU, the Beer-Sheva municipality, the IDF and corporate entities, launched at the ATP to create a cybersecurity ecosystem surrounding the University and building on its strengths in this area. The Israeli government established its National Cyber Emergency Response Team at the ATP and the University launched a new MSC degree in Cyber Space Security.
  • Beer-Sheva singled out in a 2015 study by the Brandeis International Business School and T3 Advisors as one of seven emerging global hubs of technology and life sciences.
  • BGU Innovation Labs, an innovation center providing support to BGU student and alumni entrepreneurs, and the Inno-Negev Accelerator Program for start-ups, launched in 2016.
  • Jusidman Science Center for Youth inaugurated in collaboration with the Rashi foundation, Beer-Sheva Municipality and the Ministry of Education to bring all the university's activities for science-oriented youth under one roof and develop new programs.
  • BGNegev Technologies, BGU's technology transfer company filed its 1,000th patent.
  • Dr. Howard and Lottie Marcus bequeathed a legacy gift of $400 million to BGU – the largest bequest ever made to any institution in Israel.
  • BGU joined Israeli President Reuven Rivlin's "Israeli Hope" campaign to make Israeli society more inclusive, pledging to do even more to bring all sectors of society to the University.
  • ​Prof. Daniel Chamovitz elected president of BGU and assumed office at the start of 2019.
  • ​​Work begins on the first buildings of the North Campus: student dorms.