One Woman’s Massive Donation Is Wiping Out Tuition At This Medical School

Her inheritance came with the instruction to do "whatever you think is right." One Woman’s Massive Donation Is Wiping Out Tuition At This Medical School Wikipedia

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The ultra-wealthy often get a bad rap for spending their money on vanity projects instead of investments that will help society for generations to come. But not everyone in the 1% falls into that category … as evidenced by a huge donation by the widow of financier David Gottesman.

A billion-dollar gift

Dr. Ruth Gottesman, now 93, had a bold plan for the fortune she inherited from her late husband. The former professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, provided the school with a whopping $1 billion donation, stipulating that the money be used to ensure students can attend the school tuition-free.

She is currently the chair of the college’s board of trustees and recently opened up about the process that resulted in her decision to bestow such a generous gift to the school.

About four years ago, she sat next to Dr. Philip Ozuah, who oversees the college, on a flight to Florida.

It sparked a friendship that remains strong — and shortly thereafter, a pandemic changed the world.

Ozuah made house calls each day to check on the couple and, after David died in 2022, his widow remembered those interactions from the early days of COVID.

“Whatever you think is right”

David Gottesman died at the age of 96, leaving Ruth with grief as well as a fortune.

“He left me, unbeknownst to me, a whole portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway stock,” she recalled.

Attached with her inheritance was an open-ended directive: “Do whatever you think is right with it.”

With an average student debt higher than most New York medical schools, the doctor reached her decision: “I wanted to fund students at Einstein so that they would receive free tuition.”

And with her donation, that will be the case for the foreseeable future.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee February 27th, 2024
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