Widow Of Billionaire David Gottesman Donates $1 Billion For Free Medical School Tuition


Ruth Gottesman—the widow of billionaire Berkshire Hathaway investor David Gottesman—is donating $1 billion to cover tuition for students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she used to work as a professor.

Key Facts

Ruth Gottesman—who inherited the money when her husband investor David “Sandy” Gottesman died in September 2022— told the New York Times her husband left her a whole portfolio of Berkshire Hathaway stock with instructions that said “do whatever you think is right with it.”

The donation will make it so all fourth-year students at the university will be reimbursed for their spring 2024 semester tuition and, starting in August, all students will receive free tuition, Einstein said.

Ruth Gottesman, 93, was previously a professor at Einstein who worked in the Department of Pediatrics, ran a literacy program at the school and also serves on the school’s board of trustees.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate David Gottesman was worth $3 billion at the time of his death in September 2022, and that much of his fortune came from his 6,402 class A shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock where he was an early investor and sat on the company’s board. He shared a close six-decades long friendship with billionaire Berkshire Hathaway founder Warren Buffet. In 1964, David Gottesman co-founded First Manhattan Co, an investment advisory firm which today manages more than $20 billion in assets. Before his death, Gottesman made a handful of philanthropic donations including in 2008 when he donated $25 million to Yeshiva University. Forbes estimates David Gottesman donated more than $330 million to charitable causes over the course of his lifetime.

Big Number

More than $59,000. That’s how much one year of tuition at Einstein costs for medical students, meaning the donation will save students well over $200,000 over the course of four years.

Surprising Fact

This is the largest donation made to any medical school in the country, according to Einstein.

Further Reading

MORE FROM FORBESBillionaire Investor And Friend Of Warren Buffett David Gottesman Dies At 96