Technology billionaire Moshe Yanai has donated 40 million shekels – that’s $10.4 million—to establish a special prize for professors at Israel’s Technion-Israel Institute of Technology who are good teachers and have “good personal interaction with students.” Students will choose who gets the prize.

Yanai, before he made billions figuring out ways to store electronic data, was once a student at Technion where, it appears, the professors were jerks. According to an Israel National News article by Gil Ronen:

“The Technion gave me an entry ticket to the world of computers and I owe it much of my success,” [Yanai] said. “However, I remember the period of studies as difficult and demanding. I agree that the Technion must not compromise on anything less than excellence, but I am certain that much can be demanded of the student without this detracting from a pleasant study atmosphere.”

My graduate school totally gave an award for niceness. I remember that the guy who received it had no discernible personality whatsoever. It remains unclear how Technion students will go about selecting someone for the niceness award, which will last 20 years. It’s hard to avoid turning that sort of thing into a mere popularity contest. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer