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The medical school’s Class of ’15 with (from left) Animesh Sinha of Dermatology, Teresa Quattrin of Pediatrics, President Satish K. Tripathi, Vice President for Health Sciences Michael E. Cain and Anne Curtis of Medicine.
Historic gift to UB medical school will have transformational impact lasting generations
Story by Mary Cochrane; photo by Douglas Levere, BA ’89
A doctor who graduated from the UB medical school in the mid-20th century had a vision of greatness to come for his beloved alma mater.
Thankful for the education he received at the height of World War II, the doctor quietly began investing in stocks with the intent of making a gift to UB at some future point.
More than a half-century later, UB President Satish K. Tripathi had the pleasure of announcing the doctor’s donation: $40 million, the largest gift from an individual in university history.
“This doctor worked tirelessly for his patients, and remained connected to UB, planning to one day give back to the university. With this extraordinary gift, he has done that and more,” Tripathi said at the Sept. 21 news conference announcing the gift.
“Attracting a gift of this size to our medical school is a testament to the extraordinary level of accomplishment the school has achieved. It helps us build on this strong foundation as we pursue excellence in education, research and clinical care.”
The doctor, who is now deceased, arranged the gift as a bequest for the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (SMBS) and also arranged to remain anonymous, to be known only as someone who knew from an early age that he wanted to be a physician.
“The day I received the letter of acceptance to the UB medical school was the happiest day of my life,” he would tell friends. “Becoming a doctor was my lifelong dream.”
“His generosity to UB will have a truly transformational impact—on our university and our students for generations to come, and in terms of the stronger, healthier communities we will build as a result—here in Western New York and around the world,” Tripathi added.
While unusual for the giver of such a spectacular gift to shun the spotlight, those who knew the doctor said that was his nature: to focus on the reason for giving rather than to receive recognition.
“He was truly grateful for his medical education and enjoyed watching his investments grow, always remarking that it meant ‘more for UB,’” one friend has said.
The donor, who retired in the 1990s, designated the gift to be used at the discretion of the medical school dean.
Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and SMBS dean, will use the funds to hire new faculty. With a half-dozen new chairs hired in the past year—and searches begun in five more departments—the school is well on its way to fulfilling what has been a priority for Cain.
“We owe it to our students to give them the best, most insightful instructors we can find,” Cain said. “One of my primary goals is to recruit a number of acclaimed experts to our faculty. In that regard, I can safely say that 2010-11 has been a banner year.”
Recent attention has focused on moving the medical school to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“If this donor were with us today,” said Cain, “he would be thrilled to know his gift arrives at a time of great momentum. Rarely do a university, its supporters and the community have the opportunity to build a new medical school. Thanks in part to this gift, we expect to fill it with the most sought-after faculty members, who in turn will attract top students to Buffalo.”
The gift also comes as Tripathi takes the helm of the university with his own vision for UB.
“Hire the best faculty. Attract the brightest students. Do these things and the university will flourish,” Tripathi has said.
One can imagine the donor would wholeheartedly agree.
Mary Cochrane is associate director of the Office of Development Communications at UB.
President Satish K. Tripathi is visiting 20 cities in 20 months to meet with UB alumni and share his vision for the university—he began the tour Oct. 1 in Knoxville where the Bulls took on the UT Volunteers. For the latest tour updates and information, click here.
*Countries to be determined