Medical school erupts as billionaire reveals $1.5 billion tuition donation


Ruth Gottesman—the widow of billionaire Berkshire Hathaway investor David Gottesman—is donating $1 billion (AU$1.5 billion) to cover tuition for students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she used to work as a professor.
2016 Spirit of Achievement Luncheon

The donation from Ruth Gottesman, the widow of billionaire David Gottesman, will provide free tuition for medical students in New York.

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Key Takeaways
  • Ruth Gottesman—who inherited the money when her husband investor David “Sandy” Gottesman died in September 2022— told the New York Times her husband left her a whole portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway stock with instructions that said “do whatever you think is right with it.”
  • The donation will make it so all fourth-year students at the university will be reimbursed for their spring 2024 semester tuition and, starting in August, all students will receive free tuition, Einstein said.
  • Ruth Gottesman, 93, was previously a professor at Einstein who worked in the Department of Pediatrics, ran a literacy program at the school and also serves on the school’s board of trustees.
Forbes Valuation

We estimate David Gottesman was worth $3 billion at the time of his death in September 2022, and that much of his fortune came from his 6,402 class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock where he was an early investor and sat on the company’s board. He shared a close six-decades long friendship with billionaire Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffet.

In 1964, David Gottesman co-founded First Manhattan Co, an investment advisory firm which today manages more than $20 billion in assets. Before his death, Gottesman made a handful of philanthropic donations including in 2008 when he donated $25 million to Yeshiva University. Forbes estimates David Gottesman donated more than $330 million to charitable causes over the course of his lifetime.

Big Number

More than $59,000. That’s how much one year of tuition at Einstein costs for medical students, meaning the donation will save students well over $200,000 over the course of four years.

Surprising Fact

This is the largest donation made to any medical school in the country, according to Einstein.

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