University of Haifa
University of HaifaMatanya Tausig/FLASH90

University of Haifa today announced a transformational gift from Boston-based philanthropist and businessman Bradley M. Bloom to launch the Bloom School of Graduate Studies, a university-wide initiative for a select cohort of PhD and postdoctoral students which establishes a pioneering new academic structure acknowledging that no one discipline alone can resolve the entangled issues of contemporary society.

Equipped with the support of one of the University’s largest-ever single gifts, the Bloom School of Graduate Studies will recruit a diverse cohort of PhD and postdoctoral candidates. In addition to their individual areas of specialization, the Bloom Fellows will engage in a unique boundary-pushing curriculum aimed at providing the tools for tackling the planet’s most pressing current and future challenges. This framework will foster among the fellows a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration and problem-solving that is vital for responding to a world of uncertainty across fields.

“Aligned with our broader mission to make higher education more accessible to students from the full social and epistemological spectrum of Israeli society, the Bloom School of Graduate Studies will serve as an academic magnet for students who are intellectually independent, driven by curiosity and willing to take chances in creating scholarship unconstrained by boundaries,” said University of Haifa President Prof. Ron Robin. “These attributes are key to addressing the exponential rise of technology, the scourges of climate change, disease control, and all of the attendant issues of scarcity and inequality in a world in which technology will be a mixed blessing for the survival of our body politic.”

Part of the new school, the exclusive Bloom Fellows Program will provide 24 doctoral candidates and 20 postdoctoral fellows with the resources, training, and opportunities they need to secure faculty positions or prestigious postdoctoral fellowships in Israel and abroad. The Bloom School of Graduate Studies, led by Professor Irit Akirav from the University’s Department of Psychology as its founding dean, will also establish a unified administrative structure that supports and tracks its students’ progress from recruitment to the completion of their degrees and foster the development of an academic community bound by a shared sense of identity and belonging to the University.

The home of the Bloom School of Graduate Studies will be located in new quarters within University of Haifa's main Mount Carmel campus. The close proximity of the faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows in this space will provide a unique opportunity for academic synergy across disciplines and between fields.

The concept for the new graduate school is rooted in the University’s existing philosophy of employing an interdisciplinary approach to higher education, with the goal of ensuring that students not only gain knowledge in a wide array of fields but are also equipped with tools to enable them to use each field to benefit the other. Accordingly, the Bloom School of Graduate Studies will aim to produce graduates who work nimbly, creatively, and unconventionally to solve both today’s greatest problems, as well as those that may emerge in the future.

“We will seek students from all over Israel and beyond, cultivating an inclusive boundary-breaking academic ethos,” President Robin continued. “The interaction of our fellows within the physical confines of our school will lead to forms of knowledge-sharing that does not occur in the conventional silo-based nature of graduate education. We will provide and encourage opportunities for our fellows to collaborate on significant problem-based issues. This model is disruptive and will foster change in higher education by virtue of creating a ‘Commons’ that is not beholden to any one body of knowledge.”

The new school’s philanthropic supporter, Bradley M. Bloom, is the Chairman of University of Haifa’s Board of Governors and a stalwart believer in the University’s vision as well as economic development in the entire city of Haifa and the North of Israel. In 1986, he co-founded Berkshire Partners, a private equity firm with more than $20 billion in assets under management. He is active in various volunteer roles including at Harvard University (serving on the Harvard Corporation Committee on Finance and planning committees for the university’s Allston campus), as well as Chairman of the Board at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (Boston’s Jewish Federation) and President of the Milton Academy Board of Trustees.

“I firmly believe in the great potential this university has and its unusual strength on a global basis,” said Bloom. “Through programmatic innovation, increased financial resources, and a new state-of-the-art learning space, the University will attract an increased number of high-quality graduate students, provide an academic and programmatic platform in its multiversity model, and create a space where others will want to join them over time.”

Lisa J. Silverman, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa, said “We are extremely grateful for and humbled by this outpouring of generosity and partnership.”