Hofstra and Northwell rename medical school following $61 million donation

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Donald and Barbara Zucker of Sands Point donated $61 million to Hofstra and Northwell's medical school. (Photo courtesy of Northwell Health)

Donald and Barbara Zucker’s foundation donated $61 million to the medical school founded by Hofstra University and Northwell Health, the organizations announced on Wednesday, leading to renaming the school for the couple.

Most of the donation – or $50 million – will go towards a permanent endowment to provide students need-based scholarship support in the Zucker School of Medicine.

Some $10 million meanwhile goes towards creating and endowing the Barbara Hrbek Zucker Emerging Scientists Program at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, which is headquartered in Manhasset.

The program is intended to prepare postdoctoral fellows for successful careers and support early career faculty in developing research programs.

“More so than any other donors in our history, Don and Barbara Zucker have been extraordinary supporters of causes where we have historically struggled to get financial support,” Michael J. Dowling, president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health, said in a statement.

“Their latest gifts are a testament to the Zuckers’ leadership as philanthropists who recognize the vital role of medical education and research in transforming the future of medicine.”

Donald Zucker, 86, a New York City real estate developer from Sands Point, and his wife Barbara, donated to Northwell in the past. The couple gave to organizations like the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan and the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine in Manhasset.

Lawrence Smith, the founding dean of the Zucker School of Medicine and physician-in-chief at Northwell Health, said that the couple recognized how important it is to support students financially.

“Their generosity will ensure that our medical school will continue to be represented by a highly diverse, talented student body that reflects the communities we serve throughout the New York metropolitan area,” Smith said.

Hofstra University and Northwell Health first launched the medical school in 2008. It currently has 400 students enrolled and had more than 7,000 applicants competing for 100 spaces in 2016.

“Almost a decade ago, we set out to create a new model of medical education that would improve health care in our region and today we mark another milestone in that journey,” said Stuart Rabinowitz, the president of Hofstra University. “The Zuckers’ support solidifies and expands our commitment to train innovative physicians whose backgrounds and experiences are as diverse as the people they treat.”

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