Health + Behavior

David Geffen donates $200 million to UCLA School of Medicine, the largest single gift in U.S. history to a school of medicine


Entertainment executive and philanthropist David Geffen has donated $200 million to endow the UCLA School of Medicine, Provost for Medical Sciences and Dean of the UCLA School of Medicine Dr. Gerald S. Levey announced today. The gift represents the largest single donation of its kind ever made to a school of medicine in the United States and the largest donation ever received in the entire University of California system.

According to Levey, the gift will substantially enhance the research and teaching programs of the renowned medical school, which will be renamed the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“The purpose of this donation is really twofold. One is to support one of the most innovative medical schools in the world, and the other is to inspire others to do the same,” said entertainment and music mogul Geffen. “I believe each of us has a responsibility to give back in some way. Los Angeles is my home and I want to do my part in contributing to its future. I have great respect and affection for UCLA and my hope is that with this gift, UCLA’s doctors and researchers will be better equipped to unravel medicine’s mysteries — and deliver the cures for tomorrow.”

“This gift will give UCLA — and the UC system — the competitive edge in attracting the most promising medical students and scholars,” said Gov. Gray Davis. “It will also enable this exemplary public institution to continue to foster a dynamic learning environment — bringing together the best and the brightest minds of the 21st century. David Geffen’s outstanding donation epitomizes the California spirit in its generosity and vision, and, in the long run, will benefit all citizens of this state.”

“UCLA is delighted by this historic and munificent gift. It gives the university great pleasure to name its medical school after David Geffen,” said UCLA’s Chancellor Albert Carnesale. “Mr. Geffen exemplifies the spirit of humanitarian giving. This is an enduring gift that will benefit people today and for generations to come.”

“Through this landmark contribution, Mr. Geffen’s generosity will have a transforming impact on the UCLA School of Medicine,” Levey said. “It’s gratifying to know that he shares our vision for its future. This gift will help to sustain the School of Medicine’s mission to remain at the forefront of medical education, research and patient care.”

According to Levey, this remarkable contribution will help the School of Medicine recruit and retain outstanding physicians and scientists, create new programs and initiatives, and attract the brightest medical and graduate students to pursue their career paths in medicine and science at UCLA.

“UCLA School of Medicine’s leadership role has always been dependent on training the finest scientists and physicians — professionals who both understand the human side of medicine and also possess the clinical and research skills necessary to bring about the next generation of medical and research breakthroughs,” Levey said. “Mr. Geffen’s gift will enhance UCLA’s contribution to the health and well-being of our society.”

Geffen is a principal partner in DreamWorks SKG, the multifaceted entertainment company he co-founded with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg in October 1994.

The studio has had great success on the feature film side, including this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Picture, “A Beautiful Mind,” which marked DreamWorks’ third consecutive Best Picture win, following “Gladiator” and “American Beauty.” In addition, the studio’s animated blockbuster “Shrek” won the first-ever Oscar presented for Best Animated Feature. DreamWorks’ earlier film successes include Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning “Saving Private Ryan,” which was the top-grossing film (domestically) of 1998.

Geffen has been instrumental in establishing DreamWorks Records, which already has many Grammy Awards under its belt.

Over the course of his distinguished career, Geffen has made an indelible mark on the arenas of film, theater and, most notably, music, where he was responsible for creating two other highly successful pop record companies: Asylum and Geffen Records.

For the big screen, Geffen Pictures produced such diverse films as “Personal Best,” “Beetlejuice,” “Interview With the Vampire,” “Risky Business,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Lost in America.”

His Geffen Theater Company was responsible for many of the most honored Broadway musicals in recent years, including the Tony Award–winning “Cats,” “Dreamgirls,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Miss Saigon,” and the play “M. Butterfly.”

Geffen’s professional success has enabled him to support many charitable organizations and causes. An industry leader in the fight against AIDS, he is a major benefactor to such groups as AIDS Project Los Angeles and Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

A patron of the arts, Geffen has also provided substantial grants to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Geffen Playhouse at UCLA; and USC’s School of Cinema-Television.

Numerous other charities receive funding through The David Geffen Foundation, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the Jewish Federation Council, and Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.

Geffen also served on the University of California Board of Regents from 1980 to 1987.

Through their research, education and patient care, U.S. medical schools have been widely recognized as guardians of community health locally, nationally and around the world.

A relative youngster among its peers, the UCLA School of Medicine quickly emerged as an educational leader, attracting a superb faculty and outstanding students. Although it recently celebrated only its 50thanniversary, UCLA ranks in the top 10 U.S. medical schools to receive National Institutes of Health funding.

The UCLA School of Medicine’s more than 2,000 faculty include world-renowned experts in clinical practice and scientific research. Many have earned coveted awards such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize and National Medal of Science. In 2001, 91 physicians from UCLA were named to “America’s Top Doctors” honor roll, making UCLA Medical Center one of the top three in the nation to achieve such a distinction.

Nearly 5,400 candidates apply each year for admission to the UCLA School of Medicine’s 121 coveted first-year positions. The school’s total enrollment is approximately 700 students, including 83 candidates pursuing combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees and 450 graduate students working towards a Ph.D. More than 1,400 postgraduate residents and fellows also pursue their training at UCLA and its affiliated hospitals.

More medical students at UCLA have won the prestigious McLean and Cadbury Awards — awarded each year by the Association of American Medical Colleges to the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 minority graduates — than at any other of the association’s 125 member schools.

In 1998 the school achieved national recognition for its commitment to addressing the medical needs of society’s less fortunate. The school and its affiliated Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science received the Association of American Medical Colleges’ sixth annual Outstanding Community Service Award. The prize honored UCLA and Drew for identifying and addressing diverse health problems and making a significant difference in the lives of Los Angeles-area residents. The school and its medical students support more than 20 community outreach programs to benefit the medically underserved.

As part of the University of California, the UCLA School of Medicine receives only 13 percent of its funding from the state. The school relies on funding from research grants, patient care revenue and philanthropic donations to fulfill its three-part mission of research, education and patient care.

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