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Gift to Name the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies
March 18, 2008, Volume 54, No. 25

Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz and her children have made a gift to endow and name the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies. It is the single largest endowment gift to the Center since its creation in 1993.

Mrs. Katz and her late husband, Herbert, W ’51, have been longtime supporters of Jewish studies and the School of Arts and Sciences. They endowed the Joseph Meyerhoff Chair in Modern Jewish History in 1989. Mr. Katz served on the board of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, where he was chair, and an SAS overseer. He was also a recipient of Penn’s Alumni Award of Merit.

“Jewish studies have been an integral part of teaching and scholarship at Penn for more than two centuries,” noted President Amy Gutmann. “The Katz family have long been loyal and enthusiastic supporters of the University’s mission in so many ways. We are thrilled, grateful and delighted that the family’s special bond and affection for the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies will now be enshrined in its new name.”

The Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies is the only institution in the world devoted exclusively to post-doctoral research on Jewish civilization in all its historical and cultural facets. The combining of the Center’s scholars and library with the University’s outstanding faculty and library resources in Judaic studies has established Penn as one of the world’s major centers for the study of Jewish civilization.

Center director David Ruderman, who holds the Joseph Meyerhoff Chair in Modern Jewish History, said, “Herb stepped forward in our early years to lead our board of overseers, to encourage me and my staff, and to believe that our future would indeed be bright. He appreciated, in a way few businessmen could, the power of ideas and the important work of intellectuals in enhancing human civilization. The Center is the product of his hard work, his energy and his endless optimism.”

Mrs. Katz noted, “All his life, Herb was attracted to the best and the brightest, and he enjoyed his interactions with the academics drawn to the Center from all over the world. He loved the programming, studies and fellows, and was always so happy having David Ruderman by his side during the years he was chair. We could think of no better way to honor Herb’s memory than to forever link his name with the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies.”


Almanac - March 18, 2008, Volume 54, No. 25