3:19pm

Wed September 21, 2011
Health

UB medical school receives mysterious $40 million donation

An anonymous philanthropist has given the University at Buffalo its largest donation ever: $40 million to the UB medical school.

UB has already drawn up plans to have the money trickle down through the medical school, improving each of its 26 departments along the way.

First, the school will go on a headhunting trip, to find top talent to poach from around the world to hire as new department chairs, faculty, and researchers. As UB anticipates opening its new medical school downtown in five years, President Satish Tripathi says the timing of the donation couldn’t be better.

“There’s always competition to attract the best professors. But what you need to provide is an the environment where people are coming together as a team. And this kind of resource provides that kind of environment,” Tripathi says.

Essentially, UB will be continuing an aggressive recruitment effort that began a half decade ago that attempts to vault the school into the worldwide conversation. New faculty will be expected to create intellectual property that can be translated into new medical drugs, devices and companies.

“We’ve added about 150 new faculty during [in the past five years],” says Michael Cain, dean of the UB medical school. “We have expanded in areas clinically where we had gaps and did not have expertise that we now have in Buffalo. And we have about another five years of progressive recruitment to get to the level we’d like to be at and that these and other resources allow us to achieve.”

The donor, who is a former UB medical student and doctor, arranged for UB to begin receiving installments of the gift this spring. The balance will be in school coffers by this time next year. UB’s endowment will see most of the funds, at least initially, says Tripathi.

The donor’s name will remain secret. But a few details are known: the donor is a man, who attended the medical school in the 1940s, but who didn't live in the area.  He died last December.