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US$1B donation from former professor to NYC medical school provides free tuition, forever

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A former Albert Einstein College of Medicine professor is donating US$1 billion to the New York City school, the largest gift of its type ever given in the United States, to pay the tuition of all of its students, the institution said on Monday.

Dr. Ruth Gottesman is making the donation from the fortune made by her late husband David "Sandy" Gottesman, a Wall Street financier and early Berkshire Hathaway investor, who died in September 2022.

"I am very thankful to my late husband, Sandy, for leaving these funds in my care, and I feel blessed to be given the great privilege of making this gift to such a worthy cause," she said in a joint statement with the school.

Gottesman joined the medical college in 1968. During her time at the school, she researched child learning disabilities and created an adult literacy program. She currently is the chair of the Einstein Board of Trustees and serves on the board of the Montefiore Health System, the school's affiliate hospital.

With the gift, all current full-time students will have their spring 2024 semester tuition reimbursed and all future students will attend the school tuition-free. Tuition at the school is about $60,000 a year, leaving many students more than $200,000 in debt after they graduate.

"This transformational gift is intended to attract a talented and diverse pool of individuals who may not otherwise have the means to pursue a medical education," the school said, adding that it is the largest gift given to a medical school in the nation.

The school, attended by some 1,100 students, is located in the Bronx, an area that ranks last in New York state for health outcomes and factors, according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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