Want good sex? Donate to Dr. Ruth's scholarship fund
The famed sex therapist made a cheeky promise upon learning she's getting an honorary degree from Israel's Ben-Gurion University.
When Dr. Ruth Westheimer talks, people listen. It's how she's earned such an impressive and diverse cache of titles in her 91 years: sex therapist, TV and radio host, producer, college professor, author, ethnographer, media personality, game show contestant, sitcom star, adviser, commencement speaker, pop culture icon.
Clearly, the diminutive Dr. Ruth knows how to use her voice. And lately, she's been using it to talk about something that's intimately important to her: a new scholarship fund she's establishing at Ben-Gurion University, an institution in Israel, where she lived for several years in the 1940s.
The name of the university carries a certain resonance for her. It's named after David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, who led the country during her time there. The school announced this week that Westheimer, a native of Germany, will receive an honorary doctorate degree as part of its 50th anniversary celebration on May 19, 2020.
To celebrate the honor, Westheimer had an announcement of her own: She'll be setting up a scholarship fund for psychology students at the university. It'll be called the Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer Endowed Scholarship for Psychology. And, to everyone who donates to the fund, she promised one thing: "Good sex for life!" (Donate here, before she changes her mind.)
In an interview with From The Grapevine, Westheimer said she was "delighted" to learn she'll be receiving the honorary degree, because it's the first one she's received from Israel. She already has honorary doctorates from Trinity College and Hebrew Union College here in the U.S.
She also said she plans to attend the ceremony in May, where she'll present the university with a check for $100,000 toward the scholarship. "I'm going to be there, and I am excited to waltz in and accept the doctorate and give them my check. I'll be almost 92 years old then," she told us.
Renowned sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer (left) and Doug Seserman, Chief Executive Officer of the American Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, announce Westheimer's scholarship. (Photo: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Though she'd never met Ben-Gurion himself, Westheimer said she feels a special connection to him and, therefore, the university that bears his name. "I would have loved to have met him because he was both brilliant and short," she said. "I just love BGU!”
With her uninhibited approach to sex education and therapy, Westheimer transformed the conversation around sexuality for nearly four decades. She has appeared on hundreds of television shows, traveled 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 streaming on Hulu.
“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 the American Associates of Ben-Gurion University. “And her uncanny energy is a true force of nature. Dr. Ruth is more productive today than most people half her age."
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