As cranes swung overhead and the walls of the UB medical school building took shape in downtown Buffalo, the university community buzzed with more good news: In September, Jeremy M. Jacobs, his wife, Margaret, and their family gifted $30 million to the school. The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, as it is now called, represents the first school-naming in UB’s 169-year history.
Jacobs is an alumnus, longtime UB Council chair and friend of the university. His family has donated more than $50 million in total to UB. This gift—the largest to date for the medical school’s $200 million fundraising campaign—will be used toward scholarships, research and academic programs.
Once the new building opens in 2017, it will serve as a centralized location for these activities. When classes and local hospitals are down the block from each other, students can spend less time traveling and more time studying or fulfilling rotation hours.
“The Jacobs’ gift is helping to improve the medical students’ experience,” says Eric Kaczor, a fourth-year emergency medicine student. “It’s also building a positive atmosphere around Buffalo to recruit the best doctors and attract promising students to the area.”
Jacobs credits his late brother, the pioneering neurologist Lawrence Jacobs, for teaching him about the important role medical schools can play in a community. It is the family’s hope, he said during the announcement, that the school will become a linchpin of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“My family is honored to make this investment in the community,” Jacobs said. “I learned from my brother Larry that a career in medicine is one of lifelong learning and teaching, which is why I’m enthusiastic about moving the medical school to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It will be the nexus for researchers, physicians and students, and we look forward to Western New York becoming a world-class destination for health care.”
The Jacobs family also has supported the UB Honors College, provided financial aid to female student-athletes, funded academic chairs and created flexible funds for innovation and special needs. In the mid-1980s, they supported the School of Management’s new MBA program in China, the country’s first academic partnership with an American university. With this latest gift, the Jacobs family marks more than three decades of serving the university. And UB is all the better for it.