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Jacobs family makes historic $30 million gift to medical school

By JOHN DELLACONTRADA and ELLEN GOLDBAUM

Published September 14, 2015

“No one could ask for a greater champion or a greater friend to UB than Jeremy Jacobs and the Jacobs family have been over the years.”
President Satish K. Tripathi

Jeremy M. Jacobs

Jeremy M. Jacobs, his wife, Margaret, and their family have given $30 million to the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, a historic gift as the school undergoes an ambitious period of expansion that will enable it to pursue innovative medical education, research and patient care.

As chairman of global hospitality and food service company Delaware North and one of the community’s most dedicated philanthropists, Jacobs is a longtime supporter of UB. He has served as chairman of the UB Council since 1998 and has provided invaluable service to the university over three decades, spanning the tenures of five UB presidents.

The gift to the medical school was inspired by the essential role that medical schools play in pioneering health care breakthroughs and advancing patient care in their communities.

In recognition of Jacobs’ tremendous service and philanthropy to the university, the UB medical school will be named the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, President Satish K. Tripathi announced today.

“This is a great and historic milestone for UB as the first school-naming in our university’s long and distinguished history. It is truly fitting that the medical school — UB’s founding school — would have this great distinction,” Tripathi said. “And it is equally fitting that it should bear the name of an individual and a family who truly embody the vision that has guided our university for the better part of two centuries. No one could ask for a greater champion or a greater friend to UB than Jeremy Jacobs and the Jacobs family have been over the years. We are honored to have this opportunity to recognize that great generosity in this meaningful and lasting way.”

Members of the Jacobs family, left, looks on as, from left, Michael Cain, Margaret Jacobs, Jeremy Jacobs and Satish Tripathi are photographed with a sign featuring the new name of the medical school. Photo: Douglas Levere

With the gift to UB’s medical school, the Jacobs family’s giving to the university totals more than $50 million, making the Jacobs family one of UB’s most generous benefactors. The gift is the largest to the $200 million campaign for the UB medical school and brings the school to 80 percent ($160 million) of its goal.

Jacobs said his family was inspired to make the gift in recognition of the medical school’s key role in advancing new treatments for patients and in realizing the full potential of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). He credits his late brother, Lawrence Jacobs, for teaching him about the important, centralized role of schools of medicine in medical communities.

“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.”

Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school, said the Jacobs gift will support priority initiatives at the medical school, including creation of innovative medical education and research programs, student scholarships and construction of a state-of-the-art medical school building in downtown Buffalo, to be completed in 2017.

Jeremy Jacobs with medical students (from left) Eric Kaczor, Terence McLaughlin and Lauren Jepson. Photo: Douglas Levere

“This very generous gift adds to an exciting momentum within the medical school that has attracted top talent and new resources to Buffalo over the past several years,” Cain said. “It will help the medical school continue to recruit the very best faculty, students and clinicians whose knowledge and expertise are advancing patient care in our community. The gift will also enhance our collaborations with BNMC hospitals and research institutions, and build even further on our legacy of pioneering medical research and treatments.

“The naming of a school is perhaps the greatest tribute a university can make to honor extraordinary generosity and commitment. And Mr. Jacobs and the Jacobs family are deeply deserving of that distinction in recognition of a lifetime of generosity and commitment to the university and the medical school,” Cain added.

Jacobs currently serves as co-chair of the UB medical school’s fundraising committee, along with Nancy Nielsen, senior associate dean for health policy, and Robert Wilmers, chairman and chief executive officer of M&T Bank. From 1980-87, Jacobs served as chair of the UB Foundation and has served as an adviser to the School of Management. The Jacobs family has funded scholarships for exceptional undergraduates in 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, the Jacobs family supported a School of Management MBA program in China, the first academic partnership between an American university and that evolving nation. A School of Management building on the North Campus bears the Jacobs name in honor of the family’s long-standing generosity. The family also donated to UB the architectural landmark, the Butler Mansion, renamed the Jacobs Executive Development Center.

Jacobs has lead Delaware North, which was founded in Buffalo by his father and two uncles, since 1968. The company, which in 2015 is celebrating its 100th anniversary, has continued to be based in Buffalo and is set to move into a new global headquarters building at 250 Delaware Ave. in downtown Buffalo. Jacobs is also the owner of the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League and serves as chairman of the league’s board of governors.

READER COMMENT

This is a fitting tribute for his brother, Lawrence, who was a pioneer in the field of research into multiple sclerosis and who passed away much too early.

 

His focus on MS arose largely because Buffalo is sort of a cluster of MS. He drove the research, which resulted in the first treatments to slow the development of MS.

 

Malcolm Wattman