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Israeli Billionaire Funds Prize For Nice Professors

06/17/2010 01:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

When Israeli billionaire Moshe Yanai was a student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, he remembers life being "difficult and demanding." So the tech whiz is funding an incentive to make life a little better for Technion students by funding an incentive for professors to be nice.

Yanai donated 40 million shekels -- more than $10 million -- to establish the prize, which will last for 20 years, Israel National News reports. Professors will be chosen by students based on the excellence of their teaching and "good personal interaction with students." Prizes will be distributed in upwards of 100,000 shekel increments.

Yanai explained to the Chronicle of Higher Education his motivation for starting the prize:

"The Technion gave me my entry ticket to the world of computers, and I owe it much of my success, but my time there was one of suffering," he said. "My personal experience in the Technion was not because I had difficulties learning but because of my treatment by professors."

Yanai also said he wanted to "change the atmosphere" of the school and make it so less focus was on paper publication.

According to IBM, Yanai is "One of the most influential contributors in the history of the data-storage industry. His 30 years of technical expertise and design innovation are legendary."

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