Ruth Gottesman’s $1 Billion Donation Makes Med School Free

Going to medical school comes at a cost — the average med school grad owes $250,995 in total student loan debt, not including any debt taken on in undergrad. Students at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in Bronx, New York are no exception to this trend, with nearly half owing more than $200,000 for their medical school education after they graduate, according to the school.

Now, a $1 billion donation from Dr. Ruth Gottesman, once a professor at Einstein, changes everything.

Starting in August of this year, all students at Einstein will attend completely tuition-free. All current fourth-year students will be reimbursed for the tuition cost for spring 2024.

Gottesman’s gift is the largest made to any medical school in the country; it means that no Einstein student will have to pay tuition going forward.

Gottesman’s husband passed away in 2022 and left her $1 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock with the instruction “Do whatever you think is right with it.” After deliberating over what to do with the money, she ultimately decided to donate it to Einstein — on the condition that the school not change its name to honor her gift.

“We’ve got the gosh darn name — we’ve got Albert Einstein,” Gottesman told the New York Times.

Gottesman has been associated with Einstein for over 55 years, beginning in 1968 when she led efforts to screen, evaluate, and treat learning problems in children at Einstein’s Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC). She started the first-of-its-kind Adult Literacy Program and founded the Emily Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities at CERC. She is currently Clinical Professor Emerita of Pediatrics (Developmental Medicine) at Einstein and chair of Einstein’s board of trustees.

Professor Emerita of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine Ruth L. Gottesman. Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Getty Images

In a press release, she thanked her late husband, stating “l feel blessed to be given the great privilege of making this gift to such a worthy cause.”

Gottesman’s colleagues noted her contributions and impact.

“Ruth Gottesman’s extraordinary and unprecedented gift gives new meaning to selfless determination and transformational philanthropy. She has always been an inspiration to her fellow board members and the entire Montefiore Einstein community. She will have the lasting gratitude of all who choose to train and learn here,” said Dan Tishman, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Montefiore Einstein.

Related: Girl Scouts of the USA Receives Largest Single Donation in Over 100 Years, Thanks to Mackenzie Scott

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