Becker Gala promises fun with games

Sandra ClarkOur Town Faith

A Night of Luck & Legacy Casino Night Gala will benefit the Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School. The evening will honor Jeff and Nancy Becker. It is at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 5, at Bridgewater Place, Knoxville. Tickets may be purchased at

Judith Rosenberg, president of Knoxville Jewish Alliance, said “I have been truly honored to know Nancy and Jeff Becker nearly my entire life. I was raised with their kids, who are still my friends today.

“I have learned from them both, whether quite literally at Heska Amuna Religious School where Nancy served as education director, or by watching them work within so many community organizations, including the Knoxville Jewish Alliance and the Arnstein Jewish Community Center. The Beckers have been pillars of our community for decades, and the examples I have often looked to personally as I grew as a leader.

“They have been incredibly generous not only with their time and talents, but as donors to KJA and our work within Knoxville and beyond.”

The invitation was clear: “Have your children been lucky enough to study at KJDS where Jeff and Nancy were founding board members and continue to guide and support? If yes, we look forward to seeing you!”

Welcome to Becker’s Lab

Jeffrey M. Becker Ph.D. is chancellor’s professor emeritus and former head of the Department of Microbiology (2003-2016) at the University of Tennessee. He received a bachelor’s in biology from Emory University, completed a doctorate in microbiology from University of Cincinnati and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Weizmann Institute before coming to UT in 1972.

Dr. Becker was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served on many NIH grant review panels and editorial boards of scientific journals and served as a consultant to many pharmaceutical companies including Eli Lilly and Merck.

He was one of the four founders of a new biotechnology company located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose goal was to find and develop new drugs for infectious diseases. That company, Mycopharmaceuticals Inc., merged subsequently with Millenium Pharmaceuticals Inc.

His most cherished accomplishment, he says, is the training of over 35 doctoral and master’s students and the mentoring of over 200 undergraduate students on research projects in his lab. He retired from active research in 2018.

The Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School (KJDS) was founded in 2006. Located at 8042 Gleason Drive, it serves the entire Knoxville community in grades K-5. The website says families are diverse in their beliefs, affiliations and observances.


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