The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was born from an idea proposed in 1913 by Chaim Weizmann, then president of the World Zionist Organization and later Israel’s first president. Weizmann’s enthusiasm for the project was shared by other visionaries at the time, among them Albert Einstein, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud. Three years after the symbolic foundation stones were laid on Mount Scopus in 1918, Weizmann and Einstein set out across the U.S. to promote and raise funds for the University. Seven years later, on April 1, 1925, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened its doors.

Selected Milestones in The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s History:

Selected Milestones in Hebrew University’s History (1913-1952)

1913: The 11th Zioinist Congress passes a motion in favor of the establishment of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1918: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is founded on Mount Scopus; cornerstone placed

1925: Gala opening of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1931: HU awards its first degrees, the Master of Arts, to 13 graduates

1935: HU issues certificates enabling young European Jewish refugees to enter the country and study in Jerusalem; Faculty of Science established, with Chaim Weizmann appointed dean

1936: First doctoral degrees conferred

1939: The pre-Faculty of Medicine opens and includes Departments of Parasitology, Bacteriology and Hygiene

1940: The entire ridge of Mount Scopus overlooking the Old City is earmarked for The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

1941: The School of Agriculture opens on the Rehovot campus

1947: HU grows to be a large, well-established research and teaching institution encompassing several new Faculties, as well as the Jewish National and University Library; a University press, and an adult education center

1948: The provisional Israeli government recognizes HU as a “central scientific institution of the State of Israel”

1949: The new Faculty of Medicine officially opens; Faculty of Law, HU-Hadassah Medical School, and Adult Education Center are established

1952: The first M.D. degrees are awarded to students who had begun their training abroad

Selected Milestones In HU History (1953-1972)

1953: Construction on the new Givrat Ram campus begins and the Medical School expands with the opening of the Schools of Pharmacy. The Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine is established by the Alpha Omega Fraternity.

1958: Dedication of the Givrat Ram Campus (eventually named the Edmond J Safra Campus at Givrat Ram)

1960: Dedication of the Ein Kerem medical campus

1961: The Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem opens

1964: Yissum Research Development Company established to patent University research and technology and to promote University partnerships with industry

1967: The number of faculties and schools is greatly expanded; enrollment exceeds 12,500; temporarily relocated, HU is slated to return to its original home on Mount Scopus following the reunification of Jerusalem in the Six-Day War

1968: The Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace is established on the Mount Scopus campus; The Truman institute was the first, and remains the largest research center in Israel and the Middle east to examine conflict resolution and propose peaceful solutions for the region

1972: The Faculty of Medicine expands with the addition of the Henrietta Szold-Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Nursing and The Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Occupational Therapy

Selected Milestones In HU History (1981-2008)

1981: HU continues to grow, with the addition of new buildings, establishment of new programs, and recruitment of outstanding scholars, researchers and students

1985: Opening of the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine

1997: The D. Walter Cohen Center for Dental Education in the Middle East is created to bring together dentists from the region to engage in joint research projects and learn their colleagues’ respective techniques

1998: The School for Overseas Students is renamed The Rothberg International School

2000: HU’s Givat Ram campus is named The Edmond J. Safra Campus, in honor of the leading philanthropist and founder of the Republic National Bank of New York

2002: Daniel Kahnerman, a professor at Princeton University and a fellow of HU’s Center for the Study of Rationality and Interactive Decision Theory, is the co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

2004: Three HU graduates become Nobel Prize laureates in Physics, and Chemistry

2005: Robert J. Aumann, professor emeritus at HU’s Center for Rationality and a faculty member for five decades, is the co- recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his groundbreaking work in game theory

2006: Roger Kornberg of Stanford University, a visiting professor at HU’s Department of Biological Chemistry for the past 20 years, wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription

2008:

  • The 90th anniversary of The Hebrew University’s cornerstone laying
  • HU is ranked #65 worldwide by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China
  • The 40th anniversary of The Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace

 

Selected Milestones In HU History (2009-2015)

2009: Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) established

2013: Groundbreaking for the Charles and Suzanne Goodman Brain Sciences Building

2011: Establishment of Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

2014: Dedication of the Rothberg Family Buildings housing the Benin School of Engineering and Computer Science

2015:

  • Hebrew University celebrates its 90th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the 100th Anniversary of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity
  • Launch of the new building housing the Jack, Joseph and Morton School of Advance Studies in the Humanities
  • Partnership with Cleveland Clinic for Center for Transformative Nanomedicine

From its inception, outstanding leaders have propelled The Hebrew University’s growth and excellence. As Israel’s first and foremost institute of higher education and pioneering research, HU is a symbol of the cultural rebirth of the Jewish nation in its ancestral homeland. HU’s award-winning faculty includes Nobel and Israel Prize winners, leading scientists, academics, authors, and policy-makers. Distinguished alumni include present and former Israeli Prime Ministers, the first female Supreme Court President, as well as 25% of Knesset members and two-thirds of 15 Israel’s Supreme Court justices. For nine decades, Israel has relied on The Hebrew University for leadership in every sphere and for its unwavering and unparalleled commitment to excellence, multiculturalism, pluralism and the cause for peace.