On Tuesday, the School of Medicine received a $225 million gift — the largest in the University’s history.
The gift will rename Penn Med to the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine after its benefactors.
The donation from 1940 Wharton graduate Raymond Perelman and his wife — which is the largest gift to a medical school in the United States — will establish a permanent endowment for Penn Med.
The endowment will allow Penn Med to significantly increase financial aid, recruit more of the world’s best faculty and fund the most innovative research, Penn President Amy Gutmann said. “All of that yields more and better patient care for thousands of Americans.”
“A gift of this size is transformative,” Penn Board of Trustees Chairman David Cohen said. “It will move Penn Medicine from excellence to magnificence.”
“Ruth and I believe the future of medicine depends on the ability to produce world-class clinicians and researchers, the hallmark of a Penn education,” Perelman wrote in an email. “We are proud to have this world-class school of medicine carry our names.”
Beginning with the Class of 2012, Penn Med will increase financial aid by 20 percent and possibly more, Gutmann said.
Financial aid is particularly important for medical school students, who are not eligible for the same kind of financial aid as undergraduates are, Cohen said. Increasing financial aid will help qualified students attend and ensure they can pursue the careers they want, including less lucrative but important careers in research and teaching, he added.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” fourth-year medical student Sarah Chen said. Chen, who receives a scholarship, says with four to five years of medical school and three to as much as 10 years of residency, “it is easy to see why a lot of people might be deterred [from entering the medical profession].”
“We are one of the top health systems in the country, but there is always room for improvement,” she said, adding that she also hopes the administration will put more money toward the medical school’s facilities.
Since the Perelman’s donation to Penn Med, Penn has reached almost 95 percent of the fundraising goals of the Penn Making History Campaign — which ultimately aims to raise $3.5 billion, Gutmann said. “I am confident we will make this goal,” with 19 months left in the campaign, she added.
“This gift is another example of the Perelmans’ leadership and philanthropy to the entire Philadelphia community,” Cohen said. In 2005, Raymond and Ruth Perelman donated $25 million to establish the Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine and endowed a professorship in internal medicine. In addition they have made significant donations to the Kimmel Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, he added.
Their son, Ronald Perelman, who earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from Wharton in 1964 and 1966, respectively, contributed $20 million toward the construction of the Perelman Quadrangle in 1995. As part of the terms of his donation, the younger Perelman chose to rename Logan Hall for his ex-wife, Claudia Cohen, in 2008 following her death the previous year.
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