Starting next spring, GW’s Judaic studies program in the Columbian College will include a professorship in the Hebrew Bible endowed by a GW parent’s $2.5 million donation.
The Meir Kazmir Professorship is the first endowed position the University has announced since University President Steven Knapp took over. Kazmir said he was eager to reach out to the Jewish community via GW’s Judaic studies program, especially since his daughter is a student here.
“I love GW,” he said, “It’s an important place, especially for the Jewish community. I hope that its students will be able to make a difference.”
Kazmir is the founder and CEO of Direct Meds Inc., a prescription drug provider, and president and CEO of the American International School System, an organization that provides education for children in Asia and the Middle East. Throughout his career, he has won several awards for his philanthropy and humanitarian work, including the Theodore Herzl Award in 1997, an award given by the Israeli government.
“This is a very special gift,” said Sharon Block, the senior executive director of the advancement of special programs at GW. “It allows us to fill a position that we haven’t been able to fill.”
The motivation behind Kazmir’s latest philanthropic donation was his desire to foster a relationship between the Jewish community and others, as well as his support of the University’s president.
“I have confidence in Steven Knapp,” Kazmir said.
The Charles E. Smith Professorship of Judaic Studies, the Judaic studies program’s only other endowed professorship, began in 1979.