Every other fall, hundreds of Weill Cornell Medicine alumni fill the halls of 1300 York Avenue for their class reunion. They’re there to reconnect with friends, visit their old stomping grounds and learn about some of the latest advances in medicine from their colleagues. The energy and excitement at the Reunion events are palpable – these former students are back where it all began, where they learned the skills to become some of the finest physicians in the country and where they first joined the Weill Cornell Medicine family. The Weill Cornell Medicine alumni – 5,800 in total – are some of the most passionate advocates for the institution – and also some of its most loyal supporters.
In the past five years alone, Weill Cornell Medicine alumni have contributed nearly $10 million to the institution. Their support has been extensive and broad-based – bolstering efforts in research, clinical care and medical education.
“Our alumni are committed to staying connected and keeping this institution strong,” says Stuart Mushlin, MD ’73, president of the Weill Cornell Medical College Alumni Association.
One of the institutional areas that has benefited most from alumni support is the scholarship endowment. During the past few years, alumni donations toward scholarship have skyrocketed – alumni were key players in helping the institution reach and surpass the $20 million scholarship target for the Campaign for Education, launched in 2014. It is, in part, because of this ongoing alumni commitment that Weill Cornell Medicine students graduate with less debt as compared to their peers.
“As an alumnus and a scholarship donor myself, I know firsthand the power of supporting an institution that has given you so much,” says Richard Cohen, MD ’75, co-chair of the Campaign for Education. “Watching our alumni help to bring us to our scholarship goal – allowing more students to receive this solid educational foundation – has been incredibly inspiring.”
But scholarship funding is only one critical part of alumni giving. Weill Cornell Medicine alumni have given in areas across the board – often to the direct benefit of current medical students. One example of this is the Paul F. Miskovitz ’75 Stethoscope Fund for Medical Students. Started in 2009 by The Buster Foundation, this fund provides a stethoscope to every incoming student – presented at the White Coat Ceremony during the first week of school. In total, nearly 400 alumni and friends have contributed to this fund, which has raised $180,000.
“There is nothing quite like receiving your first stethoscope – it’s so empowering,” says Raul Martinez-McFaline, student representative to the Board of Overseers. “And knowing that it was given to you from someone who once stood in your shoes makes it even more meaningful.”
Whether supporting the groundbreaking research at the Belfer Research Building, the clinical expertise of the faculty or educational opportunities for the healthcare leaders of tomorrow, Weill Cornell Medicine alumni continue to make this an even stronger institution every day.
“Our alumni are a critical part of what makes this institution thrive,” says Dr. Augustine M.K. Choi, interim dean for Weill Cornell Medicine. “We are so proud of everything they have accomplished – and so grateful for their generosity.”
Many Weill Cornell Medicine graduates go on to become members of the Dean’s Circle, a group that honors alumni who have generously given $25,000 or more to the institution or established planned gifts of $50,000 or more. This giving society continues to grow and flourish as more alumni become involved. The stories of the following Dean’s Circle donors – and there are many more – capture the breadth and diversity of alumni giving at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Read more about alumni giving in the latest issue of Milestones.