The University renamed the Faculty of Social Sciences after University friends Paul and Herta Amir. Thanks to their $10 million gift, the single highest gift ever given to the University by a donor to one project, 4 additional floors will be added to the Buildings of the Faculty of Social Sciences, 10 new laboratories will be built and new researchers, amongst whom will be returning scientists, will be absorbed into the various departments.
The connection between Paul and Herta Amir with the State of Israel and the University of Haifa is a longstanding one. At the University, Mr. & Mrs. Amir have previously gifted towards the School of Arts Building, recruiting and integrating returning scientists, excellence scholarships, various projects at the National Security Studies Center and more. The couple gave a unique gift following the Carmel Fire. Mr. Paul Amir also presided as the Chairman of the American Friends of the University of Haifa (ASUH). The couple gifted many other institutions in Israel such as the Tel Aviv Museum and Rambam Medical Center.
As mentioned, this gift is the largest single gift received by the University for a single project and it will help with the significant development of academic research and teaching at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Aside from classrooms, new laboratories will be established, rooms for new faculty, graduate students, junior faculty etc. As stated by president Shapira, "the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Haifa is one of the best in Israel and with this generous gift from Paul and Herta Amir we can make it even better. The great challenge in academic development is the ability to bring new and outstanding researchers into our fold and provide them with the infrastructure they need in order to conduct excellent research – equipment, laboratories, PhD fellowships and more. This gift will allow us to create such a new infrastructure for the benefit of our students and researchers."
During the signing ceremony Herta Amir said: "We feel very fortunate that we have the ability to contribute to the University of Haifa, an institution that is educating the next generation of all sectors of Israeli society. The task of the next generation is to continue building the society, and our job is to give it the tools to do so, through an outstanding education. It is the job of all of us here. "
Paul Amir moved the crowd when he spoke of his arrival in Israel in 1946 as part of "Aliyat Hanoar" (Youth Aliyah), at the end of World War II. "When I came to Israel in 1946, Haifa was the first place I came to. It was the first time in my life I was treated like a man. Then I started working at the port of Haifa in 1947. Since then I have always had a special bond with the north of Israel and the development of the north, and I have always believed that the development of the North is of the highest importance. That is the reason for our special bond with the University of Haifa.