Historic $1 billion donation made to The Bronx’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine to provide free tuition

In what is believed to be the largest donation to a medical school in the United States, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Morris Park neighborhood of The Bronx, has received a $1 billion gift from a former professor at the institution.

The Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine and Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion, 2008/Courtesy of Albert Einstein College of Medicine

93 year old Ruth Gottesman, who is also the current chair of the Board of Trustees at the medical school, made the donation after inheriting a large stock portfolio from her late husband of 72 years who instructed her to, “do whatever you think is right with it”.

Gottesman had no idea that her late husband, David Gottesman, who passed away in 2022 at the age of 96, had a sizeable portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway stock that he had made as an early investment in the company.

Ruth Gottesman, EdD, former professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the current chair of the Board of Trustees at the institution, recently donated $1 billion to the school / Image Courtesy of Albert Einstein College of Medicine

While we can measure the impact in dollars of Gottesman’s generous and historic donation of $1 billion to Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the most obvious impacts are perhaps immeasurable given the fact that most doctors have well over $200,000 in medical school debt when they begin their occupations—a barrier that undoubtedly prevents many qualified students to forgo their dreams of becoming a doctor and choosing another profession altogether.

When Gottesman made the announcement at the college, the med school students jumped for joy and screaming in shock of the generous gift, many were visibly emotional and even crying tears of joy at the announcement.

It also goes unnoticed that this gift isn’t going to one of the more prestigious medical schools in Manhattan which have commutatively and collectively have received millions if not billions of dollars in donations throughout their existence but it is going to a medical school right here in The Bronx, the poorest borough in the wealthiest city in not just the country but in the world.

How many Bronx children have dreamed of becoming a doctor but due to financial circumstances didn’t bother to apply? There are only a limited number of scholarships and not everyone is eager to take on the debt of student loans that will burden them for decades to come to achieve that dream.

Now, students in The Bronx who apply themselves in school and have the smarts to get into medical school, have one right in their home borough they can attend for free.

According to a press release from Einstein College of Medicine, “This donation radically revolutionizes our ability to continue attracting students who are committed to our mission, not just those who can afford it. Additionally, it will free up and lift our students, enabling them to pursue projects and ideas that might otherwise be prohibitive. We will be reminded of the legacy this historic gift represents each spring as we send another diverse class of physicians out across the Bronx and around the world to provide compassionate care and transform their communities,” said Dr. Yaron Tomer, the Marilyn and Stanley Katz Dean at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Gottesman could’ve done whatever she wanted to but she chose to put it to where it would make the biggest impact and also where her heart has been for over half a century since she first began her career at Einstein back in 1968.

Another commendable action by Gottesman is that she requested the name of the school not be changed in her honor but rather to keep the name that Einstein himself allowed to be used and is also believed to be the only institution he ever agreed to being named after him in the world—right here in The Bronx.

Free tuition at Einstein will be in perpetuity and begins August of this year.

Watch the video of the announcement:

Facebook Comments
Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.