Thu. Apr 18th, 2024
alert-–-nyc-professor-and-wall-street-widow-donates-$1-billion-to-bronx-medical-school-so-that-all-students-have-free-tuition-and-start-careers-without-$200k-debtAlert – NYC professor and Wall Street widow donates $1 BILLION to Bronx medical school so that ALL students have free tuition and start careers without $200K debt

The widow of a prominent Wall Street investor has donated $1 billion to a Bronx medical school for tuition for all future students.

The gift from Ruth Gottesman, 93, is the largest-ever to a US medical university, and comes from the fortune left behind by her late husband, David ‘Sandy’ Gottesman.

A protégé of Warren Buffet, Sandy passed away aged 96 in late 2022, leaving behind a hefty stock portfolio filled with shares of Buffet’s hallowed Berkshire Hathaway, each valued at $618,080.

His only instructions to his wife of 72 years of what to do with it? ‘Do whatever you think is right,’ his will said.

Dr. Gottesman, in turn, donated $1billion of it to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine on Monday. She instructed that the gift be used to cover tuition for all students going forward.

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Dr. Ruth Gottesman, the widow of a former Warren Buffet investor, donated $1 billion to The Albert Einstein College of Medicine Monday to cover tuition for all future students

Dr. Ruth Gottesman, the widow of a former Warren Buffet investor, donated $1 billion to The Albert Einstein College of Medicine Monday to cover tuition for all future students

The reaction in the school's auditorium was swift and earnest, with several students seen shedding tears as many jumped in celebration

The reaction in the school’s auditorium was swift and earnest, with several students seen shedding tears as many jumped in celebration

‘I’m happy to share with you that starting in August this year, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine will be tuition free,’ Gottesman – who once taught at Einstein – announced in front of her alma mater Monday to uproarious applause.

The reaction was swift and earnest, with several students seen shedding tears as others jumped in celebration.

A standing ovation ensued, and the clip was quickly added to X.

Within a few hours, it had been viewed more than 20,000 times, eliciting a chorus of praise from those online.

‘Their joy brought tears to my eyes,’ one person wrote. ‘This is what we need more of in this country. Billionaires really *can* help, if they wanted to.’

Congressman Ritchie Torres added: ‘The people of the Bronx are eternally grateful for the generosity of Dr. Ruth Gottesman, whose donation to a Bronx-based institution, the Einstein College of Medicine, has no precedent in the history of our borough.’ 

‘That’s is an amazing contribution!’ someone else proclaimed, as Gottesman said she hoped her donation would enable new doctors to begin their careers without medical school debt, which often exceeds $200,000.

‘We always hear the bad news, so rarely we hear the good ones!’ the X user added, with others airing similar sentiments.

Gottesman, a pediatric professor at the school for some 55 years, told onlookers

Gottesman, a pediatric professor at the school for some 55 years, told onlookers” ‘I’m happy to share with you that starting in August this year, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine will be tuition free’

'Their joy brought tears to my eyes,' one person said of the donation, the biggest ever of its kind. 'This is what we need more of in this country. Billionaires really *can* help'

‘Their joy brought tears to my eyes,’ one person said of the donation, the biggest ever of its kind. ‘This is what we need more of in this country. Billionaires really *can* help’

A standing ovation ensued, and the clip was quickly added to X. Several were seen shedding tears of joy, as most med grads leave school with some $200,000 in debt

A standing ovation ensued, and the clip was quickly added to X. Several were seen shedding tears of joy, as most med grads leave school with some $200,000 in debt

The gift is the largest-ever to a US medical university, and goes to a school where she for years worked

The gift is the largest-ever to a US medical university, and goes to a school where she for years worked

‘This is lovely! Especially at a time where some people don’t respect doctors and pretend to be medical experts on X,’ one such person noted.

Others cited how the donation was going to New York’s poorest borough, which is often overlooked when it comes to donations.

One person wrote: ‘This school is usually glossed over by donors as New York has a lot of great schools. Glad to see this.’

Another added a more money-minded assessment of Dr. Gottesman’s generosity, remarking how the billion ‘could be put into a decent mutual fund and return $70-$110 million a year.’

That, he said, ‘would be more than enough to pay for tuition for all students’ – as others all too familiar with the pain that comes with paying their way through med school also chiming in.

‘This is fantastic news,’ someone sniped.

‘My wife is a trauma surgeon. Having med school paid for would’ve been amazing. Glad someone is making it happen.’

Previously, the biggest cash infusion for a college medical institution came in the form of a $600million donation to the California Institute of Technology from Intel founder Gordon Moore and his philanthropist wife Betty Moore in 2001.

The school itself is not a medical university, but much of the fund helped create the school’s Center for Molecular Medicine, among other initiatives. The Moores donated an additional $100 million to Caltech in 2014, still well short of the billion offered up Monday by Dr. Gottesman.

The sum comes from the fortune left behind by her late husband, David 'Sandy' Gottesman. A protégé of Warren Buffet, Sandy passed away at 96 in late 2022, leaving behind a hefty stock portfolio filled with shares of Buffet's hallowed Berkshire Hathaway, each valued at $618,080

The sum comes from the fortune left behind by her late husband, David ‘Sandy’ Gottesman. A protégé of Warren Buffet, Sandy passed away at 96 in late 2022, leaving behind a hefty stock portfolio filled with shares of Buffet’s hallowed Berkshire Hathaway, each valued at $618,080

He gave the entire portfolio to his wife after his death, writing in his will, 'Do whatever you think is right with it.' Forbes in 2022 estimated his fortune at $2.9 billion - with most coming from his ownership of Class A shares in Berkshire Hathaway

He gave the entire portfolio to his wife after his death, writing in his will, ‘Do whatever you think is right with it.’ Forbes in 2022 estimated his fortune at $2.9 billion – with most coming from his ownership of Class A shares in Berkshire Hathaway

A flood of favorable reaction was seen on social media following the sudden announcement

A flood of favorable reaction was seen on social media following the sudden announcement

A similar $550million donation to Western Michigan University in June 2021 from an unnamed alumni saw $300 million go to its Homer Stryker School of Medicine.

Other high-profile, high-priced donations have been made in the past to schools like Stanford and Columbia, with former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg doling out an astounding $1.8billion to Johns Hopkins University in 2018.

That said, the school is not a medical institution, making Dr. Gottesman’s gift the biggest of her kind. Moreover, Bloomberg is worth an estimated $100billion – making his donation more of a drop in the bucket than Gottesman’s gift of her husband’s entire portfolio.

That sum had swelled for decades, after Sandy Gottesman became an early investor in his mentor’s now costly conglomerate.

The pair met through mutual friends on Wall Street after Sandy graduated from Harvard Business School in the early 60s, launching a lifelong friendship that ended with Sandy’s passing at his and his wife’s home in Rye, New York.

At the time, Buffet, now 93, remembered his friend fondly, as Forbes estimated his fortune at $2.9 billion – with most coming from his ownership of Class A shares in Berkshire Hathaway.

He also left behind three adult kids he shares with Dr. Gottesman – who joined Einstein’s Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center as a pediatrician in 1968.

In the decades that followed, she climbed the ranks to become the founding director of its Emily Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities, after starting an adult literacy program there a few years before.

'I hope he’s smiling and not frowning,' she said of what her husband might think of the gift from beyond the grave. 'But he gave me the opportunity to do this, and I think he would be happy - I hope so'

‘I hope he’s smiling and not frowning,’ she said of what her husband might think of the gift from beyond the grave. ‘But he gave me the opportunity to do this, and I think he would be happy – I hope so’

Over the course of 55 years, she and her husband also established the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research, the Ruth L. Gottesman Clinical Skills Center and the Faculty Scholar in Epigenetics, while committing to help fund the school’s strategic research priorities in Immunotherapeutics, Cancer, and the Brain Science Initiative.

She joined the school’s board in 2002, became vice-chair in 2003, and ascended to the position of chair in 2007. She held the post for seven years until 2014, when she stepped down at age 83.

She told The New York Times Monday that she knew immediately what she was going to do with the funds, after her inheritance came as a surprise to even herself.

‘I wanted to fund students at Einstein so that they would receive free tuition,’ she said, as she is still close friends with the pediatrician oversees the medical college and its affiliated hospital, The Monefiore Medical Center.

‘I hope he’s smiling and not frowning,’ she said of what her husband might think of the gift from beyond the grave. ‘But he gave me the opportunity to do this, and I think he would be happy.

‘I hope so.’