Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
New York, NY, United States (4E) – Ken Langone, the noted philanthropist and billionaire founder of The Home Depot, and his wife, Elaine, have pledged $100 million to NYU Langone Medical School to support free tuition for all medical students. Another $400 million was raised, all from private donors, for the same purpose.
The $100 million in funding goes towards a $450 million program to make tuition free for all medical students at the NYU School of Medicine. In 2008, the Langones made an unrestricted $200 million gift –the largest in the NYU Medical Center’s history — and the Medical Center was subsequently renamed the NYU Elaine A. and Kenneth G. Langone Medical Center.
Langone, who’s worth $3.6 billion, had previously donated millions of dollars to various charities. His philanthropic focus has focused on universities, medical research and training, education, and helping children. His generous donation to the NYU Langone Medical School is the latest in this long list.
“I suppose you start by saying, ‘How can I touch the most people possible?’ In 12 short years, I still expect to be alive, even though I’m 83. I’m counting on it, all right?” he ssia.
“In 12 short years, this nation is going to be short 50,000 primary care physicians, 30,000 pediatricians, and about 25,000 OB-GYN,” said Langone, chair of NYU Langone’s board of trustees.
Langone said one of the critical problems is that medical students graduate with significant debt and don’t start making money until much later.
“If we don’t figure out a way out to offer a kid, by the way, a pediatrician, $150,000, $175,000 a year. I know many firms on Wall Street that pay secretaries more than that or pay guys that run their dining rooms more than that,” he notted.
“So you’re asking a young person, boy or girl, whatever, to sign up for $200,000 average when they’re done with medical school. And where you have this need, there isn’t much money.”
“We have these great needs,” Langone pointed out. “I lecture our guys at the medical center. I never want to hear you say to some other medical center, ‘Follow us. Join us. Join us.’ We’ve got a serious national problem, and we’re living longer.
“Understand something. All this great science and all these great medical breakthroughs we’re having, we’re living a hell of a lot longer, and more vibrant, and more active. And guess what? The longer you live, the more healthcare you need.”
“So why we did it was we decided that this was one way that we could demonstrate our gratitude our way of living the American dream. And I’ve lived the American dream.”
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