Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, February 26, 2024

$1 Billion Donation Will Provide Free Tuition at a Bronx Medical School

Estate planningDr. Ruth Gottesman, a 93-year-old widow of a Wall Street financier, has donated a historic $1 billion to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, instructing that the funds cover tuition for all future students. Dr. Gottesman, a former professor at Einstein with a background in learning disabilities, donated from her late husband's fortune, which was derived from investments, including an early stake in Berkshire Hathaway. This gift, among the largest to an educational institution in the U.S. and likely the largest to a medical school, aims to alleviate the burden of medical school debt, which often exceeds $200,000, and to diversify the student body by making medical education more accessible to those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The donation is particularly significant as it goes to a medical institution in the Bronx, known as the city's poorest borough with high rates of premature deaths and overall poor health indicators. Dr. Gottesman's close relationship with Dr. Philip Ozuah, CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, affiliated with Einstein, was pivotal in her decision. Their shared commitment to serving the Bronx community and their connection forged through challenging times, including Dr. Gottesman's husband's illness and subsequent recovery, exemplify the deep bonds underlying this transformative act of philanthropy. Dr. Gottesman's vision ensures a debt-free path for future medical professionals. It aims to foster greater inclusivity in medical education, marking a significant step towards addressing healthcare access and opportunity disparities.

For more information see Joseph Goldstein “$1 Billion Donation Will Provide Free Tuition at a Bronx Medical School”, The New York Times, February 24, 2024.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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