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93-year-old's historic $1 billion donation makes Bronx medical school tuition-free

The donor, who has a long history with the medical college, left the students speechless and teary-eyed with her act of generosity.

93-year-old's historic $1 billion donation makes Bronx medical school tuition-free
Cover Image Source: X | Montefiore Health System

People often donate to causes close to their hearts or to endeavors they've passionately supported for years. And both these reasons are true for Dr. Ruth Gottesman who, last month, made a huge contribution of $1 billion to the students at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine to cover their tuition fees at the school. The students were so relieved by the news that they were seen crying and rising to their feet to cheer after hearing the news, reported BoredPanda.


Dr. Philip Ozuah, the President and CEO of Montefiore Einstein, announced that the college had received a “transformational gift” from Dr. Gottesman, who is the former professor and chairperson of the Einstein Board of Trustees. The college mentioned that this is the largest donation that any medical school has received in the country. They hope that this gift will attract a diverse pool of applicants who otherwise might not be able to attend. Moreover, this huge amount will also let students graduate without debt, college administrators told NBC News. “I believe we can change healthcare history when we recognize that access is the path to excellence,” said Dr. Ozuah.

Talking about the students, Dr. Gottesman said, “Each year, well over 100 students enter Albert Einstein College of Medicine in their quest for degrees in medicine and science.” “They leave as superbly trained scientists and compassionate and knowledgeable physicians, with the expertise to find new ways to prevent diseases and provide the finest health care.”


She gave her husband David “Sandy” Gottesman the credit as he left her with the financial means to make such a donation. He had built the Wall Street Investment House, First Manhattan, and was on the board of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. “l feel blessed to be given the great privilege of making this gift to such a worthy cause,” Ruth Gottesman said. “I hope he’s smiling and not frowning,” she added. “But he gave me the opportunity to do this, and I think he would be happy — I hope so.”

Dr.Gottesman has been affiliated with the college for the past 55 years. She joined Einstein’s Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center in 1968 and developed screening and treatment for learning problems. Moreover, she began the first-of-its-kind Adult Literacy Program at the center in 1992. Six years later, she was named the founding director of the Emily Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities at CERC. She is a clinical professor emerita of pediatrics.


The medical school is situated in the Bronx, which is the city’s poorest borough, according to The New York Times. It has a high rate of premature deaths and also is said to be the unhealthiest county in New York. Dr. Gottesman said that she would be able to help new doctors begin their careers without medical school debt, which is more than $200,000. “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.

Einstein is reportedly the second tuition-free medical school in New York. In 2018, the New York University School of Medicine announced that it would cover the tuition fees of all its students. Four-year students of the college will have a reimbursement of their spring semester tuition while those starting in the fall will have free tuition from then onwards.


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