Weill Cornell Medical College Announces Gifts Totaling $400 Million, including $25 Million from The Starr Foundation

Posted on June 13, 2007

Gifts include $25 Million from The Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg
Family Foundation and $25 Million from The Starr Foundation


NEW YORK, NY – Weill Cornell Medical College announced today that it is the recipient of $400 million, made up of several major gifts, bringing the prestigious Medical College to the halfway mark in just the first seven months of its $1.3 billion capital campaign – “Discoveries that Make a Difference” – launched in October 2006.

These gifts also bring Cornell University’s comprehensive campaign, Far Above, the Campaign for Cornell, to $1.653 million.

The largest of the gifts announced today is $250 million – believed to be the single largest gift ever given to a medical college – from Joan and Sanford I. Weill, Chairman of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College. Additionally, Mr. & Mrs. Weill are making a $50 million gift to Cornell University – the largest gift ever to the Ithaca campus from an individual – to help fund its New Life Sciences Initiative, which aims to keep the University competitive in light of vast changes in genomics and interdisciplinary research. This initiative will help advance research and other collaborations between Ithaca-based and Weill Cornell faculty. The combined $300 million is the largest gift to the University from a single individual. To date, Mr. and Mrs. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation have given more than $500 million to Weill Cornell Medical College.

Maurice R. Greenberg, a member of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College and Chairman and CEO of C. V. Starr and Company, and his wife Corinne, are giving $25 million. Another $25 million comes from the Starr Foundation. The Greenbergs and the Starr Foundation have been generous and loyal benefactors of the Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork- Presbyterian Hospital. Mr. Greenberg is also the Chairman Emeritus of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

The final donation is a $100 million gift from long-time supporters of Weill Cornell who wish to remain anonymous.

The gifts announced today will go toward the overall “Discoveries that Make a Difference” capital campaign that will fund a variety of projects, including:

  • New translational and clinical research programs (bench-to-patient), focused on several areas – obesity, diabetes and metabolic disorders; cardiovascular diseases; neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders and aging; cancer; global health and infectious diseases; children’s health; molecular therapeutics; and reproductive and regenerative medicine. The goal is to translate the benefits of research advances immediately to patients, supporting Weill Cornell’s mission to provide the highest standards of patient care through less invasive procedures, reduced morbidity, shorter hospital stays, and speedier recovery times.
  • Support for students, including student financial aid, international scholarship funds, graduate fellowships, and funds to enhance the living-learning experience.
  • Support for education, including funding for faculty who are largely engaged in teaching medical students.
  • Faculty and program support, including endowed faculty positions, endowed academic support positions and research and program enhancement. This program seeks to increase research faculty recruits, including full-time researchers, translational physician-scientists and clinical faculty recruits; and add new research centers and institutes.
  • State-of-the-art facilities, including a proposed Biomedical Research Building, to be built on East 69th Street, giving researchers and scientists the cutting-edge tools and increased space for accelerated innovation and biomedical discovery. Labs will be designed in an open-floor layout, fostering communication and collaboration among scientists and creating synergies for translational research. As the first new research facility built on the Weill Cornell campus in two decades, it will keep New York City at the epicenter of biomedical research.
  • Collaborative research between Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University in Ithaca: New translational research programs will promote scientific synergies by the world-renowned experts working on both campuses. Of Mr. and Mrs. Weill’s total gift, $25 million will fund research collaborations between the campuses in Ithaca and New York City, and will establish the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology at the University.
  • Global collaborations and international education: Weill Cornell is deeply committed to making important contributions on a global scale. Education, training and research programs span the globe from our New York City campus to the Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar, to training programs in Bugando, Tanzania and Salzburg, Austria, to research and clinical activities in Haiti and affiliated programs on The Methodist Hospital campus in Houston, Texas.

“This is an historic day for Weill Cornell Medical College, and my wife Joan and I are thrilled to be a part of the celebration,” said Mr. Weill. “Each of the gifts that we are announcing today is being made by donors who have contributed generously to Weill Cornell in the past. This speaks volumes of our national and global reach, and it strongly validates the job that our dean, Dr. Tony Gotto, is doing. He is a great partner and under his leadership, we have recruited 15 new department chairs, out of a total of 23 departments, and we have seen our National Institutes of Health funding nearly double. These gifts will also create new translational and clinical research programs that will directly impact our patients.”

“The health challenges that confront the world today are far bigger than these gifts,” said Mr. Greenberg. “Our goal is to speed research discoveries from the bench to the bedside, where doctors can improve the quality of care for patients and the quality of life for all of us.”

“We are grateful and humbled to be the recipient of such immense generosity. It is almost overwhelming,” said Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., M.D., Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. “Our doctors, researchers, students, patients and the people we serve will be the direct beneficiaries of these gifts, which will support and promote our educational programs, research, recruiting efforts and patient services. We are committed to producing the finest doctors, generating research to relieve human suffering, provide excellent patient care and sharing our experience in other parts of the world.”

“With this extraordinary and generous gift, Joan and Sandy Weill are not only securing the foundation of our great medical school at the cutting edge of research, they are also setting the course for unprecedented collaboration among scientists and researchers throughout Cornell University that is likely to contribute to the well being of generations to come of fellow Americans,” said Peter Meinig, Chairman of the Cornell University Board of Trustees.

“Those who dare to dream are the people who make a difference in this world. With this amazing gift, on top of an already extraordinary history of giving, Joan and Sandy Weill honor, reward, and inspire the dreams of a new generation of scientists and researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College and across Cornell University’s Ithaca campus,” said David Skorton, President of Cornell University. “By directing his immense generosity at our faculty’s collaborative efforts, Sandy and Joan Weill are setting the gold standard for all our efforts to secure the future of our great institution; in so doing, he and Joan are also making a qualitative difference in the lives of countless human beings across the globe.”

“These gifts to our campaign represent the best possible investment one can make in scientific progress – with benefits now and for generations to come,” said Robert J. Appel, Chairman, The Campaign for Weill Cornell Medical College. “As our capital campaign – Discoveries that Make a Difference – continues, so does our ability to support the doctors and scientists of today and tomorrow. We would urge those who believe in the Weill Cornell mission to join us in making that difference in the medical discoveries of tomorrow.”

About Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College-Cornell University’s Medical School located in New York City-is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in such areas as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, AIDS, obesity, cancer, psychiatry and public health-and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the mysteries behind the human body and the malfunctions that result in serious medical disorders. The Medical College-in its commitment to global health and education-has a strong presence in such places as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Salzburg, and Turkey. With the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical School is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances-from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the world’s first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease, and, most recently, the first indication of bone marrow’s critical role in tumor growth. For more information, visit www.med.cornell.edu

About The Discoveries That Make A Difference Campaign

The Campaign for Weill Cornell Medical College, Discoveries that Make a Difference, will raise an unprecedented $1.3 billion in private philanthropy to translate the findings of basic science into the most advanced treatments for patients as quickly as possible. In the 21st century, the most profound discoveries in medical science will occur at the intersection of disciplines and through the collaboration of new ideas. Discoveries will fund a bold strategic plan including paradigm-shifting initiatives in biomedical research, medical education, and patient care to advance global health and well-being. The Discoveries Campaign leverages the synergies created by Weill Cornell’s partnerships with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University, The Methodist Hospital-Houston, as well as Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar, and through our work in global health in Tanzania and Haiti. The Campaign will support the recruitment and retention of the very best faculty, doubling our existing research space with the construction of a new biomedical research building, and expanding programs in ten discrete areas: cancer; cardiovascular medicine; obesity, diabetes and metabolic disorders; neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric diseases and aging; stem cell, developmental biology, regenerative and reproductive medicine; global health and infectious diseases; molecular therapeutics; children’s health; education; and collaborative opportunities with our Ithaca campus.