Long Island billionaire and mining company magnate Ira Rennert and his wife, Ingeborg Rennert, have given Yeshiva University an undisclosed gift that led to the appointment of former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman as a professor of public policy and public service, the university said Thursday.
Lieberman, of New Haven, Connecticut, will teach one undergraduate course and give three public lectures about Judaism and public service to the Middle East during the 2014-15 academic year, the university said.
Lieberman, 72, the first Orthodox Jew elected to the Senate, represented Connecticut from 1989 to 2013. In the 2000 presidential election, he was the nation's first Jewish vice presidential candidate when he was then-Vice President Al Gore's running mate.
Rennert, 80, a junk bond investor and owner of The Renco Group, is a longtime benefactor of Yeshiva University, having given up to $1 million to the private institution on Manhattan's Upper West Side, spokesman Bruce Bobbins said. The university, founded in 1886, focuses on Jewish studies and has an enrollment of 7,600 undergraduate and graduate students.
Selma Botman, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said in a statement that Lieberman's appointment "enriches our academic programs and strengthens the Jewish values and ideals that the Rennerts, Senator Lieberman and Yeshiva University hold most dear."
The Rennerts, of Sagaponack, recently gave the university a gift to reappoint former Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon as visiting professor of foreign policy studies.
They could not be reached Thursday for comment.
Forbes magazine recently listed Ira Rennert's wealth as $6.5 billion. He is known for funding Orthodox Jewish causes and educational programs in the United States and Israel.
Rennert founded Renco, a private investment holding company based in Manhattan that specializes in mining, the production of military defense equipment and automotive supplies, in 1975, according to its website.