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Photo by Mike Steele // CC BY 2.0

Two renowned Penn donors recently made a large contribution to Columbia University. 

Roy Vagelos, a 1950 College graduate and and his wife, a 1955 Barnard College graduate, Diana Vagelos, are donating $250 million to the Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons to eventually get rid of the need for loans for medical students. 

Currently, tuition for one year at P&S is $59,364, excluding fees and living expenses, which is slightly higher than that of Penn's Perelman School of Medicine — $55,928. According to The New York Times, most of the 20,000 students per year enrolled in American medical schools take out federal loans to support their studies. 

Of the $250 million gift, $150 million will fund an endowment at P&S which, after five years, will be able to provide full scholarships and grants instead of loans to meet the financial needs of all future medical students. 

According to the Columbia Spectator, the Vagelos family has now donated more than $310 million to the medical school. With the most recent gift, Columbia President Lee Bollinger announced the school will officially be named the Columbia University Roy and Diana Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

"We think that this will make a really important impact on the future careers of our graduates, who will be able to follow their dreams, which was what I was able to do," Roy Vagelos, who was a scholarship student at P&S in the 1950s, said to the New York Times, 

Roy Vagelos also served as a member of Penn's Board of Trustees for more than a decade and as its Chairman from 1995 to 1999. The Vagelos family's gifts to Penn have allowed for the creation of a variety of programs at Penn, including the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research, the Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management, and the Vagelos Scholars Program in Molecular Life Sciences. 

More recently, in June 2016, Penn's College of Arts and Sciences announced the creation of the Vagelos Institute of Energy Sciences and Technology, which was made possible through a gift from the Vagelos family.

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