On behalf of the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, students and alumni, we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to his children, Nancy, Amy, Julie, and Adam, to his sister Lela Beren Jacoby, and their families.
Mr. Beren’s philanthropic passion has strengthened the Jewish world immensely. A visionary and inspiring leader, Mr. Beren embodied leading by example. His boundless commitment to higher education has benefitted among others, the Jerusalem College of Technology, Harvard and Yeshiva University. His support extended to other religious and educational institutions and to important social institutions in Israel and America in his role as President of the Robert M. Beren Foundation.
The Beren family’s history in the United States began in the early 1900s in Marietta, Ohio, where Robert grew up after his family moved from Latvia at the turn of the century. His father and two uncles started the family oil business after the discovery of oil in the United States in nearby Titusville, Pennsylvania. Robert and his brother Sheldon O.B.M. carried on the family business when they moved to Wichita, Kansas, in the 1950s, and then Robert went on to build his own company, Berexco, which became one of the largest family-owned businesses in the mid-continent region of the United States.
Mr. Robert Beren served with distinction as a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War II, showcasing his dedication and sense of duty. Mr. Beren’s own educational journey exemplifies his love for academic challenges. After graduating cum laude from Harvard College with a B.A. in Economics, he continued his academic pursuits and graduated with high distinction from Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration. His academic training, military experience, business acumen, and stellar personal qualities were all instrumental in his phenomenal success.
Mr. Beren was a stalwart supporter of JCT for over 25 years. As the sole trustee of the Israel Henry Beren Charitable Foundation, he endowed many projects in memory of his uncle, Israel Henry Beren O.B.M. Dedicated in 1997, the entryway plaque to the Israel Henry Beren Institute of Science and Torah describes Israel Henry Beren as one, “who enabled others to learn the treasures of the Torah and was himself an example of the righteous values in its teaching.” To meet JCT’s growing needs, the Foundation funded the expansion of that building in 2000 and again in 2017.
Robert Beren continued his generous support for JCT by building the Israel Henry Beren Dormitory Pavilion in 2002, the Israel Henry Beren Center for Academic Preparatory Studies in 2013, and opened the Israel Henry Beren Exercise Center in 2016.
Mr. Beren’s most recent and most significant contribution to JCT was the naming of the Beren Center for Engineering on the future Tal Campus for women. This four-story building will house engineering and computer science departments, along with the Beren Entrepreneurship Center and the Beren Midrasha. The Beren Center for Engineering will play a major role in training women entering the Israeli scientific and computer science workforce for many decades to come. Mr. Beren’s immeasurable impact on the global Jewish community will resonate for generations. Though we mourn the loss of a great individual, his philanthropic contributions will stand as an enduring tribute to his memory.
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