Renowned psychosexual therapist, Dr Ruth Westheimer, will be receiving an honorary doctoral degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) on 19th May 2020 in Beer-Sheva, Israel. The ceremony will take place during the University’s 50th anniversary celebration.
To commemorate the honour, she is establishing the Dr Ruth K. Westheimer Endowed Scholarship for Psychology, which will fund psychology student scholarships.
BGU’s Department of Psychology provides students with a broad understanding of the basis of normal and abnormal behaviour while teaching and training future researchers and practitioners.
‘I am so excited to be awarded this honorary degree from Ben-Gurion University. I am proud to be establishing an endowed scholarship to help Israeli students in perpetuity,’ says Dr Westheimer. ‘And, the secret is, everyone who donates gets good sex for life.’
Throughout her life and career, Dr Westheimer has maintained her commitment to the Jewish people and Israel. She was separated from her family in 1938 and was sent on a Kindertransport to Switzerland by her parents who later perished in the Holocaust. After World War II, at age 17, she went to Palestine where she fought and was seriously wounded in Israel’s War for Independence as a sniper in the Haganah, the Jewish freedom fighters.
‘I am an orphan of the Holocaust and was in Israel in 1948 when David Ben-Gurion declared the State of Israel,’ says Dr Westheimer. ‘We danced all night. I would have loved to have met him because he was both brilliant and short. I am delighted to have a scholarship for the University that bears his name as Israel’s founding father and first prime minister. I just love BGU!’
‘How fitting that a woman of Dr Westheimer’s stature, who heard David Ben-Gurion announce the new State of Israel as a young woman in Israel in 1948, will receive an honorary degree from the University that bears his name seven decades later amidst a long and distinguished career,’ says BGU President Professor Daniel Chamovitz. ‘It is a great honour for BGU to recognize her achievements during our 50th anniversary.
With an uninhibited approach to sex education and therapy, Dr Westheimer, 91, transformed the conversation around sexuality for nearly four decades. She has appeared on hundreds of television shows as an expert on human sexuality, travelled worldwide giving speeches and lectures, and just published her 45th book.
The critically acclaimed documentary, ‘Ask Dr. Ruth’, in which she reflects on her life and career, debuted last year and is now on available on Hulu.
Dr Westheimer media career began in 1980 when her radio show, ‘Sexually Speaking’, premiered on WYNY-FM in New York City. By 1983, it was the area’s top-rated radio show, and in 1984 NBC radio began syndicating it nationwide as the ‘Dr Ruth Show’, which ran until 1990.
‘Dr Ruth is incredibly deserving of an honorary degree for all she has accomplished. She has impacted the lives of people around the world by bringing human sexuality into public discourse,’ says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
‘And her uncanny energy is a true force of nature. Dr Ruth is more productive today than most people half her age,’ Seserman adds.
Dr Westheimer received her Ed.D. degree from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College as well as an MA in sociology from the New School for Social Research. She also taught at Princeton University, Yale University, Columbia University, Adelphi University, Lehman College, Brooklyn College, and West Point.
To make a tax-deductible donation to this scholarship fund for psychology, click here to or write a check made out to AABGU and send to:
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU)
Attn: Dr Ruth Scholarship
1001 Avenue of the Americas, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Image credit: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev