$1B Donation To Pay For Medical School Tuition In Bronx

In the midst of all the crazy, here is a wonderful story that will make your week. Via the New York Times:

The 93-year-old widow of a Wall Street financier has donated $1 billion to a Bronx medical school, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, with instructions that the gift be used to cover tuition for all students going forward.

The donor, Ruth Gottesman, is a former professor at Einstein, where she studied learning disabilities, developed a screening test and ran literacy programs. It is one of the largest charitable donations to an educational institution in the United States and most likely the largest to a medical school.

The fortune came from her late husband, David Gottesman, known as Sandy, who was a protégé of Warren Buffett and had made an early investment in Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate Mr. Buffett built.

The donation is notable not only for its staggering size, but also because it is going to a medical institution in the Bronx, the city’s poorest borough. The Bronx has a high rate of premature deaths and ranks as the unhealthiest county in New York. Over the past generation, a number of billionaires have given hundreds of millions of dollars to better-known medical schools and hospitals in Manhattan, the city’s wealthiest borough.

This might be my favorite story all year, and it’s only February:

Over the years, she had interviewed dozens of prospective Einstein medical students. Tuition is more than $59,000 a year, and many graduated with crushing medical school debt. According to the school, nearly 50 percent of its students owed more than $200,000 after graduating. At most other New York City medical schools, less than 25 percent of new doctors owed that much.

Almost half of Einstein’s first-year medical students are New Yorkers, and nearly 60 percent are women. About 48 percent of current medical students at Einstein are white, 29 percent are Asian, 11 percent are Hispanic and 5 percent are Black.

Not only would future students be able to embark on their careers without the debt burden, but she hoped that her donation would also enable a wider pool of aspiring doctors to apply to medical school. “We have terrific medical students, but this will open it up for many other students whose economic status is such that they wouldn’t even think about going to medical school,” she said.

And you know what was the only condition of her donation?

But it is a condition of Dr. Gottesman’s gift that the Einstein College of Medicine not change its name. Albert Einstein, the physicist who developed the theory of relativity, agreed to confer his name on the medical school, which opened in 1955.

The name, she noted, could not be beat. “We’ve got the gosh darn name — we’ve got Albert Einstein.”

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