Walking through Israel's first private not-for-profit university, one can't help but be amazed by the rapid evolution of this prestigious academic institution. Only 20 years ago, the site was an abandoned IDF air force base with dilapidated structures. Today, it is a lively campus with magnificent buildings, perfectly manicured lawns, interesting antiquities, sculptures and artwork, and over 6,500 students – of which one quarter are from overseas – who enjoy the process of attaining undergraduate or graduate degrees, while taking part in exchange programs, working hard to succeed at the various honors programs on offer, or simply loving life as students in Israel on a campus where the students are the partners.
Building IDC Herzliya
We are not done yet! Although so much has already been achieved in such a short time, we are ready as ever to accept the challenges awaiting us in the future. We continue to build our little academic house on the prairie, all the while finding new and innovative ways to involve our students in the process and ensure that they hold stakes in continuing to make IDC the success that it has become. Slowly but surely we are striving towards Founder and President Prof. Uriel Reichmans goal of establishing a 24-hour campus – complete with dorms, sports facilities, student union buildings, restaurants and more.
We are proud of the recent completion of the much-awaited School of Psychology and School of Economics building, while reveling in the beauty of the recently renovated Hangar (originally an air force hangar). The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson School of Entrepreneurship has just completed its first semester and we look forward to breaking ground and beginning to build its future home in the next few weeks.
These are a welcome addition to the already existing buildings on campus, including the Radzyner School of Law and School of Sustainability founded by Israel Corp., ICL and ORL; the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy; the Arison School of Business; the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science; the Sammy Ofer School of Communications and the Marc Rich Library.
Although its building is still not built, the recently inaugurated new Adelson School of Entrepreneurship is already buzzing with activity. Taking its cue from Reichman's 20-year journey of academic entrepreneurship, this new department offers academic courses catering to students from all of the faculties on campus, including Law, Business, Government, Economics, Psychology, Communications, Sustainability and Computer Science – either as part of joint academic programs or as stand-alone electives complementing students fields of study.
Zionism and entrepreneurship
I cannot help but smile as I think of the heterogeneous student body on campus and am especially proud of our unique Israel at Heart Ethiopian Scholarship program. IDCs students of Ethiopian heritage receive free tuition, a monthly stipend and unlimited tutoring, among other things. I am particularly proud of these young men and women as they step onto campus with the drive and motivation to succeed at anything they take on – and they do, with many of the graduates attaining key positions in the Israeli private and public sector.
Huge sources of pride for Prof. Reichman are his 1600 Raphael Recanati International School children. It is a fact that 25% of IDC Herzliya's student body is enrolled at the RRIS studying for full academic degrees taught in English. The students are offered three-year B.A. programs in Business Administration, Communications, Gove-rnment and Psychology, and M.A.s in Business, Government and Organizational Behavior. The international students learn alongside their Israeli counterparts and are involved in all aspects of campus life. They also enjoy an array of special extracurricular social and cultural activities, such as trips around the country, weekend seminars, Hillel events, Shabbat dinners and much more. We really have become the largest academic absorption center in the country.
A constant stream of our students – both Israeli and international – are regularly absent from their studies as they are serving in the IDF reserves. IDC Herzliya's student body is known to include a high proportion of combat officers and other reserve soldiers serving in key positions – both men and women – and they are frequently called to reserve duty.
IDC puts these students on a pedestal and, as a way of thanking them for their staunch Zionism and commitment to their country, they are provided with all the help they need in order to make up what they miss when they are in the army, including special exam dates and free tutoring. Once a year, there is even a Reservists Prom, where students serving in the reserves are invited to a lavish affair (organized and sponsored by volunteers) as an official thank you for their dedicated service. In a recent survey conducted among 66 Israeli colleges and universities by the IDF's Chief Reserves Officer, IDC Herzliya was ranked #1 in the way it treats its reservists.
Most satisfied students
IDC Herzliya prides itself on educating the future generation of leaders to serve Israel and the world at large, and those who employ our graduates understand that they are trained to hit the ground running and that they have a background that combines academics with practical skills.
We are delighted to be able to say that IDC Herzliya alumni are already responsible for start-up exits in excess of $200 million! Many of these successful graduates were in the Zell Entrepreneurship Program.
Currently in its 13th year, the Zell program provides students with an opportunity to apply advanced entrepreneurial studies to the creation of real business ventures. Generously supported in vision and funding by Sam Zell of Chicago, the program is designed for outstanding undergraduates in their final year at IDC Herzliya. The program is taught in English in order to best acclimate the students to the global business environment.
One of IDC Herzliyas top objectives is to employ professors who are at the top of their fields, and mostly graduates of Ivy League schools, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford and the best Israeli universities. In addition to teaching the students, they are also engaged in state-of-the-art groundbreaking academic research.
When he founded IDC, Reichman dreamed of – and created – an academic environment where the faculty and the students are partners. Accordingly, professors are readily available to the students and, in fact, share a cafeteria. It is to the credit of Reichmans vision that many of the students academic difficulties are solved over lunch or a cup of coffee under the eucalyptus trees on the cafeteria deck. Undoubtedly, this approach has contributed to the university's growing popularity.
In fact, in a recent survey by the Israeli National Student Union, IDC Herzliya ranked first, for the fourth consecutive year, for student satisfaction with the quality of the teaching, as well as with the facilities.
Full of treasures
In addition to academic excellence, IDC Herzliya also provides its students with a visually aesthetic environment in which to study – striking architecture and magnificent landscaping, all enhanced further with eye-catching pieces of art and archeological artifacts which are exhibited throughout the campus, both outdoors and inside the various buildings.
Our Museum of Communications at the Sammy Ofer School of Communications is another attraction on campus. This fascinating museum tells the story of the development of communications around the globe from the early 20th century to the present, placing special emphasis on the documentation of media activities prior to and during the establishment of the State of Israel.
IDC Herzliya's campus is full of hidden gems, but there is no doubt that its real treasures are its human capital – its diverse and top-notch student body, its remarkably professional faculty, and its devoted leadership – all of whom, together, have created a unique academic Garden of Eden in only 20 years.
Jonathan Davis is IDC Herzliya's Vice President of External Relations and Head of the Raphael Recanati International School
For more information about IDC Herzliya, visit www.idc.ac.il.