Bradley M. Bloom, new chairman of the University of Haifa's Board of Governors.
(photo credit: HAIFA UNIVERSITY)
Veteran businessman Bradley M. Bloom has seen first-hand the power of academic institutions as an engine for local and regional growth.
Having grown up in Boston, graduating from and later taking an active role in the governance of Harvard University, he has witnessed decrepit city neighborhoods redeveloped into centers of technology, innovation and entrepreneurial talent.
Bloom was elected last week as chairman of the University of Haifa’s board of governors, succeeding Prof. Alfred I. Tauber who served the maximum six years at the helm of the institution.
“I have been involved in Haifa for over 30 years, since the CJP, Boston’s Jewish Federation, formed a partnership in the city with like-minded people,” Bloom told The Jerusalem Post. “I’m familiar with the fact that Haifa hasn’t seen the growth and development of other major cities, and the region to Haifa’s north is quite undeveloped and represents an untapped resource for the nation. Like the North and Haifa, the university hasn’t reached its full potential.”
Involved in the financial sector for decades, Bloom founded private equity firm Berkshire Partners LLC in 1986, serving as managing director until earlier this year. He recently became a senior adviser at the company, which manages approximately $20 billion in assets.
Bloom is also active at Harvard, serving on the Harvard Corporation’s Committee on Finance and planning committees for the university’s Allston campus.
“The idea of a university being isolated doesn’t make sense in today’s world,” said Bloom. “From my experience, primarily in Boston, I know that successful universities tend to be connected with the world in which their students are going to be living in, allowing them opportunities to be connected to society at large.”
Bloom paid tribute to current university president Ron Robin and his predecessor Tauber, who together oversaw the implementation of the institution’s new “multiversity” model – a multi-campus institution with locations around Haifa and northern Israel, beyond the university’s once-isolated Carmel Mountain location.
“Ron has expanded the university to the rapidly developing Haifa Port, an area I’m very familiar with, making it more accessible to faculty and students from around the country,” said Bloom. “A lot of excellent things are under way. Ron has a great strategic vision, and I’m looking forward to working with him to develop a more detailed framework, which we can share for fund-raising in the United States and worldwide.”
Over the last two years, the university has secured more than $50 million in donations to support its vision to redevelop northern Israel. Projects include the construction of a brand new downtown campus, a 20-story “Health Discovery Tower,” an artificial intelligence technology center in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the acquisition of Braude College in Carmiel.
“Donors, wherever they are, look for a connection between their priorities and what an institution does,” Bloom said. “Marine science, Holocaust studies and the development of the Arab sector have attracted donors from around the world. As people get involved in the organization, board or committees, then they might see the value of the institution as a whole, and be open to a more generalized approach.”