David Geffen to Receive UCLA's Highest Honor at School of Medicine Commencement
University awards entertainment magnate and philanthropist with prestigious UCLA Medal
Source Newsroom: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences
Newswise — Entertainment magnate and influential philanthropist David Geffen (Beverly Hills) will receive the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor, during the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA’s Hippocratic Oath Ceremony on Friday, May 30.
“David Geffen exemplifies the spirit of optimism and innovation that is the hallmark of UCLA,” said Chancellor Block, who will present the honor. “By advocating for the arts, health care and human rights, he has served as a powerful force for enhancing human welfare and as an exemplary role model in the UCLA community.”
Creator of the highly successful Asylum and Geffen Records labels and co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, Geffen has a long-standing record for generosity toward UCLA. In 1995 he donated $10 million towards UCLA's Westwood Playhouse. The theatre was renamed the Geffen Playhouse.
Geffen was already a well-known philanthropist when he made a $200-million unrestricted gift to UCLA's medical school in 2002. The funding helped propel the school, renamed the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in recognition of his commitment, to its current status as a world-class institution for education and research. The gift is the largest ever made to the University of California and UCLA, and, at the time, the largest single donation ever made to a U.S. medical school.
In 2012, Geffen established the $100-million, merit-based David Geffen Medical Scholarships. This program covers the entire cost of a medical education for nearly 20 percent of entering students, enabling them to pursue their dreams and graduate debt-free. Unprecedented in medical school history, the gift has inspired other institutions to substantially increase financial support for their medical students.
“Mr. Geffen recognized early on that one of his defining missions was to find and nurture talent,” said Dr. A. Eugene Washington, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and vice chancellor of UCLA health sciences. “As a result of his generosity and vision, more of our students are aspiring to careers based on their passion, and the School is creating more distinguished leaders in health and science to meet the challenging health needs of our society.”
The UCLA Medal is bestowed on those with exceptionally distinguished academic and professional achievement whose bodies of work or contributions to society illustrate the highest ideals of UCLA. Recipients have included national and international leaders in government, education, science, industry and the arts.
Previous recipients include Nobel laureates, President Bill Clinton, UCLA alumnus and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, basketball coach John Wooden, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and UCLA alumnus and astronaut Anna L. Fisher.
Founded in 1951, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA employs more than 2,500 full-time faculty members, including recipients of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Medal of Science. Nearly 10,155 candidates apply each year for one of 175 spaces in the first-year class. Enrollment totals more than 860 students and almost 400 Ph.D. candidates.
More than 1,400 residents and fellows pursue advanced training at UCLA and its affiliated hospitals, which includes Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the best hospital in the western United States for 24 consecutive years and No. 5 among the nation's hospitals.