Published September 21, 2011
A physician who graduated from the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences during World War II has made a $40 million gift to his alma mater—the largest gift from an individual in UB’s 165-year history.
The donor, who is deceased, wished to remain anonymous. He arranged the gift as a bequest to be used for the priorities of the medical school as determined by the dean.
“This gift ensures that we can continue hiring top physician-scientists to teach and perform groundbreaking research in the UB medical school,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, UB vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school.
“It truly is a gift that will keep on giving for generations.”
Cain will direct the funds to one of his chief priorities for the school: hiring faculty to support the growth of medical programs and research in strategic areas.
“With the most talented medical faculty from around the globe teaching our students, class after class of UB medical school graduates will be prepared to deliver the very best health care in Western New York and far beyond.”
As plans get underway for a new UB medical school in downtown Buffalo, the gift provides a major incentive for the school to fulfill its vision of academic excellence while contributing to the growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“Thanks to this gift, we expect to recruit to UB’s medical school the most sought-after faculty members, who in turn will attract the brightest students to Buffalo and provide an outstanding education to our homegrown students as well,” Cain said.
While the donor wished to remain anonymous, his vision for the university will be widely known as a result of his generosity, said UB President Satish K. Tripathi.
“This donor began saving decades ago in order to one day benefit UB because he believed in the power of this university to transform lives and give students the ability to pursue their dreams,” Tripathi said. “And he believed that UB possesses the potential to become one of the world’s leading public research universities.
Tripathi noted that the gift “opens the door” to a future of world-class medical education and health care in the region.
“We are grateful to our anonymous alumnus, who in a very dramatic way has shown us the power that private philanthropy has to transform higher education.”
The gift builds on community-wide support for UB’s plans to construct a new medical school in downtown Buffalo under the NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program approved recently by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature, said Jeremy M. Jacobs, CEO of Delaware North Companies and chairman of the UB Council.
“This gift is invaluable for raising the university’s profile on the national and international stage,” he said. “A gift of this magnitude confirms what so many in Western New York already know: that UB is a global leader in higher education and innovative research.
“And as a result of these institutional strengths, UB also is a catalyst for economic growth—fueling development of a regional biotechnology industry and creating new jobs.”
While some may find it unusual for the donor of such a significant gift to shun the spotlight, those who knew him best said that was his nature: he preferred to focus on the reason for giving rather than accolades.
According to the donor’s friends, he was “truly grateful for his medical education,” and enjoyed watching his investments grow over the years, always remarking that his financial success would mean “more for UB.”
The donor is remembered as someone who knew that he wanted to be a physician from a young age.
“The day I received the letter of acceptance to the UB medical school was the happiest day of my life,” he told friends.
“Becoming a doctor was my lifelong dream.”