Columbia University received $50 million from former Merck & Co. Chief Executive Officer P. Roy Vagelos and his wife, Diana, to help construct a medical and graduate education building at the New York institution’s medical campus.
The gift will support a $185 million plan to renovate the health complex in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, the university said today in a statement. The donation means the university’s medical school has raised more than $1 billion.
Vagelos, 80, who graduated from Columbia’s College of Physician and Surgeons in 1954, is chairman of the medical center’s Board of Visitors. He was CEO of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck from 1985 to 1994, and chairman from 1986 until 1994. He is now chairman of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in Tarrytown, New York. Diana Vagelos graduated from Columbia’s Barnard College in 1955.
“We are training the doctors who will deliver medical care, the scientists who will perform ground-breaking scientific research and teachers who will train the next generation of physicians and scientists,” the former Merck CEO said in the statement. “It is important that their education facilities are as exciting as medical science is today.”
Columbia was founded in 1754 and granted its first degrees in medicine in 1769.
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