Kathryn DeHoyos explains how one philanthropist is making dreams come true, 33 med students at a time.
David Geffen, a philanthropist and co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, donated $100 million for students beginning medical school at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, the Los Angeles Times reports. The scholarship fund will cover each of the 33 students entire cost of medical school, including tuition, room and board, books and other expenses. Students who receive the scholarship will be selected based on merit not financial need.
The gift, makes Geffen the largest individual donor to UCLA and to any single UC campus. In 2002, Geffen donated $200 million in unrestricted funds to the medical school. At the time, the campus was renamed in his honor.
This scholarship fund will provide an opportunity for students who without it may not have been able to follow their dreams of a career in the medical field. Especially considering it has been estimated that for students enrolling in 2013, the cost of four years of medical school will exceed $300,000. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges,
More than 85% of medical school students nationwide graduate with some debt. Among those, the average is $170,000,. That debt often influences graduates’ career choices and has contributed to a shortage of primary care doctors, who often earn less than specialists.
Along with the announcement of the scholarship fund, Geffen released a statement explaining his reasoning behind its creation. He is quoted as saying,
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.
We echo that sentiment Mr. Geffen, and thank you for recognizing how vital investing in education is to the future, not only for the US but the world as a whole. Your donation is a shining example of what generosity truly is.
Picture: Tulane Public Relations/Flickr