BUFFALO — Bruins Owner and Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs has always been an integral part of his community in Buffalo. He was born there and raised there. He attended business school there and grew his business there.
On Monday, Jacobs took another leap toward helping that community prosper even more.
The University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences announced on Monday morning at Gates Vascular Institute that Jacobs, his wife, Margaret, and their family have donated a historic gift of $30 million that will enable the medical school to continue pursuing innovative medical education, research and patient care as it works to complete a $200 million campaign.
In recognition of the gift, the university will name the school the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, marking the first time in the institution’s 169 years that it has ever named one of its schools after anybody.
“It’s exciting news, and a major milestone for UB, and we’re excited,” said UB President Satish K. Tripathi. “It’s really fitting to name the school after the person and the family that has been so supportive of the community, and for UB as well.”
A longtime supporter of UB ever since attending its business school in the 1950s, Jacobs’ donations to date have surpassed $50 million. This one, however, holds a special place in his and his family’s hearts.
Jacobs said his late brother Lawrence inspired his understanding of the instrumental role of medical schools in medical communities nationwide. Today, Jacobs is honored to play such an integral role in helping Buffalo grow one step closer to becoming one of the country’s premier medical hubs.
With Jacobs’ gift, the UB School of Medicine’s $200 million campaign is within 80 percent of its goal, and the campaign stands to be completed by the summer of 2017.
“It’s a great honor for us to be able to have a school named after us, quite honestly,” Jacobs said. “I think anybody would be very, very proud, especially coming from Buffalo and starting here. But more important than anything else is what the president here has done and what has happened here.
“[Medicine] is the largest industry in our country and in our world today, and it puts an opportunity in front of the Buffalo community to really grow here. This whole community has progressed, but when you put the medical school here, it just makes it happen faster. If you look around today, whether it’s Cleveland or Pittsburgh, they’re ahead of us time-wise, but not facility-wise. This is unmatched.
“I can tell you that it’s an experience we can all be proud of. It’s an opportunity for this community to really grow and prosper. From an industry [perspective], it’s huge; from an academic environment, it’s unprecedented. It’s going to be tremendous. So I truly think that we’ve got ourselves a real opportunity, and just hanging my name on it is a real plus for me and my family.”
While the infrastructure is already in place to help UB’s medical school become one of the nation’s most advanced, Tripathi said Jacobs’ donation will allow the school recruit the necessary personnel in order to become even more renowned.
“The building is coming here; we need to bring the faculty here,” Tripathi said. “We need to hire the top researchers and the faculty to bring in here. We need to attract the best students, and all of that requires resources, so we continuously will work in that direction.”
Dean of the Medical School Michael Cain said that the $200 million campaign seeks to fulfill three objectives, and every day, the school grows closer to completing those objectives.
“We want the Academic Health Center to be a place that you go for new knowledge, [where] you expect new discoveries,” Cain said. “It’s a place that you want to be educated. And third, it’s a place that when you need healthcare, this is the place that you want to go to receive that healthcare.”
Once the campaign is completed, not only will UB itself benefit, but the entire Buffalo community stands to benefit as well.
“We’re saying it over and over again, louder and louder, better and better: There is great medical facilities here, and great treatment for the people here,” Jacobs said. “This school is going to magnify that; it says, ‘This is the place where you want to live, where you want to belong.’
“This investment, to me — and I call this an investment — is an investment for all of Delaware North associates. By doing this, I’ve raised the quality of life here in western New York, and that says volumes to me. It flatters the hell out of me. So I really, really enjoyed that opportunity.
“I hope all of you reflect that way and feel similarly, that you’ve got quality medicine here, and it’s going to continue to magnify. As I say, this building and what’s happened here is at [Gate Vascular Institute] is just a sample of what’s going to happen when that school is finished, and what it’s going to do for all of the collateral hospitals around here is truly special.”