Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons’ Division of Cardiology has received a $32.5 million gift from the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust of Sarasota, Florida. The gift will fund an endowment that will support the division’s programs in patient care, research, and education.
The gift is the first in the history of the 251-year-old medical school to fund an endowment that will provide broad financial support for an entire department or division, in perpetuity, the school said in a press release. In recognition of the gift the school has renamed the cardiology division the Seymour, Paul and Gloria Milstein Division of Cardiology. Gloria Milstein Flanzer is the sister of Seymour and Paul Milstein.
“Columbia’s cardiology program is one of the best in the world, and the enormous generosity of the Milsteins will help to ensure its pre-eminence for many years to come,” said Lee Goldman, MD, dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine and chief executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
“This remarkable gift will ensure that we continue to attract the nation’s most talented cardiologists and researchers to Columbia, and it will enable new discoveries that improve outcomes for patients with heart disease,” said Allan Schwartz, MD, the Harold Ames Hatch Professor of Medicine and Seymour Milstein Professor of Cardiology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief of cardiology. “It will also help us provide the best possible educational experience for physicians who choose Columbia for their specialty training in cardiology.”
The Milstein gift also includes $2.5 million that will fund an endowed professorship to be held by a faculty member in the division in honor of Dr. Schwartz’s leadership.
Columbia University has long been a leader in the development of groundbreaking therapies for patients with heart disease, the school noted. Recently, the division established a new cardiometabolic precision medicine program to uncover the genetic basis of cardiovascular diseases and develop targeted therapies to treat and prevent heart disease. This work is a critical component of Columbia’s University-wide precision medicine initiative.
With the current gift, the Milsteins have donated more than $100 million to Columbia University. These gifts have supported Columbia’s clinical and educational programs in the medical school, including the Gloria and Louis Flanzer Vision Care Center, the Irma and Paul Milstein Laboratory in the Department of Surgery, the Vagelos Education Center, and five endowed professorships throughout the medical school (in medicine and surgery), as well as educational programs on the main campus.
The Milsteins also have contributed generously to Columbia’s hospital partner, NewYork-Presbyterian, including a $25 million gift in 1988 to build the Milstein Hospital and a $50 million gift in 2006 to create the Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center on the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus.