David Geffen, who was recently the subject of an extended profile by PBS for its "American Masters" series, will donate $100 million to UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, to fund 33 full-ride scholarships a year to the school for its most promising students.
With four-year tuition to the school, room and board, books and miscellany exceeding a cost of $300,000, the David Geffen Medical Scholarships will ease the burden on a fifth of the school's yearly entrants and, the hope is, steer students towards educational tracks frequently avoided - such as primary care - because of their lower pay, relative to more specialized fields.
The money makes Geffen - who previously donated an unrestricted $200 million to UCLA's Medical School in 2002, prompting the school to rename itself in his honor - the largest individual donor to a single campus in University of California history, and makes Geffen one of the largest donors to any medical school in United States history. That puts him in the company of Sanford I. Weill ($450 million to Cornell's Weill Medical College) and Kenneth G. Langone ($200 million to the N.Y.U. Langone Medical Center), though Geffen made it clear he wishes that list was much longer.
"The cost of a world-class medical education should not deter our future innovators, doctors and scientists from the path they hope to pursue. We need the students at this world-class institution to be driven by determination and the desire to do their best work and not by the fear of crushing debt. I hope in doing this that others will be inspired to do the same," Geffen wrote in a statement.
"Once again, David Geffen has made a transformative gift - in this case, one that shifts how we think about support for our medical students," the medical school's dean, Dr. A. Eugene Washington wrote in a statement. "The David Geffen Medical Scholarship Fund is an extraordinary investment in a public institution that will enhance UCLA's ability to create world leaders in health and science. Recipients of this prestigious award will proudly carry the David Geffen Medical Scholar designation with them throughout their careers as they create an enduring legacy of excellence and impact in 21st-century patient care, medical education and research."
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, UCLA's chief academic officer said "My mouth dropped open when I saw this. It is going to create quite a legacy for the school."