The widow of a top Warren Buffett investor has donated $1 billion to Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx to cover tuition for all future students.
Ruth Gottesman’s gift is the largest ever to a US medical school, according to a statement from the college. She’s the chair of Einstein’s board of trustees and was a longtime professor of pediatrics at the school.

Her husband, David, died at 96 in 2022. He was a friend of Buffett for six decades, and his early investments in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. gave him a net worth of almost $3 billion as of mid-2022, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“This transformational gift is intended to attract a talented and diverse pool of individuals who may not otherwise have the means to pursue a medical education,” the college said in its statement.

Medical schools are notoriously expensive, often saddling doctors with exorbitant student loans. Almost half of Einstein’s students owe more than $200,000 after graduating, a higher percentage than at other New York City medical schools, according to the New York Times, which earlier reported on the donation.

A video shared on social media showed Einstein students jumping out of their auditorium chairs, hugging and wiping away tears after Gottesman, 93, announced it would be “tuition free” starting in August.

Sky-high tuitions at private medical schools have led to concerns that students will opt for lucrative specialties over primary care, while low-income and minority students fearful of taking on big loans may be scared off from pursuing medicine. The median out-of-state cost of a private medical school was $70,596 for the 2023-2024 school year, according to Shemmassian Academic Consulting.

Even the son of former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was left with crushing debt of about $400,000, his father testified before Congress a decade ago.

Other billionaire donors, including DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen and Home Depot Inc. co-founder Ken Langone, have also covered tuition for medical students — at UCLA and New York University, respectively.

David Gottesman, known as Sandy, ran the investment firm First Manhattan and was chairman of Yeshiva University’s board of trustees. Einstein is the medical school affiliated with YU.

An earlier gift by the couple helped create the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine.

“I am very thankful to my late husband, Sandy, for leaving these funds in my care, and I feel blessed to be given the great privilege of making this gift to such a worthy cause,” Ruth Gottesman said in a statement.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.