Silicon Valley inventor gets honorary degree from BGU

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has conferred an honorary doctoral degree on Silicon Valley entrepreneur, inventor and philanthropist Nahum Guzik.

In addition, the Israeli university in Beersheva has dedicated a new biotech engineering building as the Guzik Family Building. Guzik made a “significant donation” for the building, according to a spokesman for American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a fundraising arm of the school.

Guzik, trained as an engineer in Odessa, immigrated to Israel at age 20. “If it were not for Israel, I would have never left Russia, and my life would be completely different,” Guzik said.

Shortly thereafter, he moved to the United States and in the early 1980s founded Guzik Technical Enterprises, now based in Mountain View. He also founded the Guzik Foundation, which has enabled hundreds of Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian musicians to pursue their dreams by providing funds for education, training, recording contracts, living expenses and international tours.

Rivka Carmi, BGU’s president, presented Guzik with the honorary doctorate, stating, “He has generously contributed to noble causes worldwide and is a proud philanthropic activist in the Northern California Jewish community.” (Guzik financed a bronze bust of Adolph Sutro, the former Jewish mayor of San Francisco, that was installed last year in City Hall.) “He has blessed many organizations and talented young musicians with his generosity and is committed to the advancement of higher education and research in Israel in general, and in the Negev in particular,” Carmi said.

Guzik received his honorary degree on May 20, two days after the dedication ceremony for the new building bearing his name.

“The way I see it, I’m happy to fund good causes to help Israel,” Guzik said humbly. “I donate because they are great — not me.”