Joan and Sanford I. Weill Agree to Boost Capital Campaign at Weill Cornell Medical College With $170 Million Cash Payment of Pledge

Establishes Matching Gift Challenge to Encourage Fresh Support for New Research Building at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan

Weill Cornell Medical College's planned Research Building

NEW YORK (April 7, 2009) — Cornell University announced today that Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation agreed to the University's request to accelerate the fulfillment of their pledge toward its $4 billion capital campaign, including Weill Cornell Medical College's $1.3 billion "Discoveries That Make a Difference" fundraising drive. By fulfilling their pledge with a $170 million cash payment, the Weills are responding with a decisive boost to the Medical College's capital campaign at a time when the University's endowment has been significantly diminished by the current economic challenges. Mr. and Mrs. Weill's 2007 pledge is believed to be the single largest gift given to a medical college.

By completing their gift now, Mr. and Mrs. Weill have created a challenge gift — the Weill Challenge — which will raise up to $203 million in additional gifts that exclusively support construction of the Medical College's new Research Building. This state-of-the-art facility will more than double the institution's existing laboratory space, and it is scheduled to break ground later this year in New York City on East 69th Street between York and First Avenues.

Dr. David Skorton, president of Cornell University, said, "On behalf of Cornell University, the chairman of our Board of Trustees, Peter C. Meinig, and I approached Joan and Sandy Weill and asked them to consider giving a cash gift now. The Weills are fully aware that philanthropy — now, more than ever — is critical to the advancement of Weill Cornell and its research enterprise. As such, they enthusiastically agreed. Today, they once again demonstrate both their unwavering commitment to Cornell and their particular skill at inspiring others to action."

"The world has changed in the past six months," said Mr. Weill, who serves as chairman of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College and graduated from Cornell University in 1955. "In order to ensure that the Research Building project moves forward, we decided to make our gift available to other donors who may be holding back. It is our hope that this decision will encourage everyone to join us in support of superior medical education, first-class research and superb clinical care."

As part of the Weill Challenge, for every $1.50 given to the Research Building, the Weill family will allocate $1.00 from their gift, so that new donors can have naming opportunities in the building at a meaningful discount. When successfully completed, the challenge is expected to raise an additional $200 million, on top of the Weills' gift.

Mr. Meinig added, "I believe that the Challenge offered by Joan and Sandy has the potential to attract significant new gifts for the Medical Research building — the Medical College's top campaign priority."

"We are enormously grateful to Joan and Sandy Weill for everything they have done for Weill Cornell Medical College, helping put this institution on the map for innovation and biomedical discovery, and fulfilling our mission to promote healing here in New York and around the globe," said Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College.

Of the Weills' $170 million cash gift, which was paid in December 2008 and January 2009, $15 million will be applied to research collaborations between the campuses in Ithaca and New York City, and to the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology at Cornell University.

"Through their unequaled vision and leadership, the Weills have solidified the global reputation of Weill Cornell Medical College," said Robert J. Appel, chairman of Weill Cornell's "Discoveries That Make a Difference" capital campaign.

The new Research Building is a key part of this campaign and is central to advancing the Medical College's tripartite mission of education, research and clinical care. By greatly expanding laboratory space, the $650 million, 16-floor facility will enable Weill Cornell to recruit and retain the best faculty and attract the brightest students — all dedicated to pioneering investigations in cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, pediatrics and diabetes, among other areas. Designed with an open floor plan to facilitate communication and collaboration, the building will encourage interdisciplinary research, including with Cornell University in Ithaca. And its proximity to the Weill Greenberg Center, the Medical College's new award-winning ambulatory care facility, will foster translational research aimed at advancing patient care.

History of Leadership and Support

To date, Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation have given more than $500 million to Cornell University. Their gift helped the Medical College's capital campaign reach beyond the halfway point of its $1.3 billion goal only eight months after its start. The Weills also are giving an additional $50 million to Cornell University to help fund the Life Sciences Technology Building, which was completed in 2008. In recognition of their generosity, the building has been named Weill Hall. The Weills' donation is the largest single gift Cornell University has ever received.

Mr. Weill is chairman of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences, having served as a member since 1982. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Medical College's chief clinical partner.

Discoveries That Make a Difference

The Campaign for Weill Cornell Medical College, "Discoveries That Make a Difference," will raise an unprecedented $1.3 billion in private philanthropy to translate the findings of basic science into the most advanced treatments for patients as quickly as possible. In the 21st century, the most profound discoveries in medical science will occur at the intersection of disciplines and through the collaboration of new ideas. Discoveries will fund a bold strategic plan including paradigm-shifting initiatives in biomedical research, medical education, and patient care to advance global health and well-being. The Discoveries Campaign leverages the synergies created by Weill Cornell's partnerships with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University, The Methodist Hospital-Houston, as well as Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, and through our work in global health in Tanzania and Haiti. The Campaign will support the recruitment and retention of the very best faculty, doubling our existing research space with the construction of a new biomedical research building, and expanding programs in 10 discrete areas: cancer; cardiovascular medicine; obesity, diabetes and metabolic disorders; neurodegenerative, neuropsychiatric diseases and aging; stem cell, developmental biology, regenerative and reproductive medicine; global health and infectious diseases; molecular therapeutics; children's health; education; and collaborative opportunities with our Ithaca campus.

Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University's medical school located in New York City, is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in areas such as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, transplantation medicine, infectious disease, obesity, cancer, psychiatry and public health — and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the mysteries of the human body in health and sickness. In its commitment to global health and education, the Medical College has a strong presence in places such as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. Through the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Cornell University is the first in the U.S. to offer a M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances — including the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer, the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial of gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally conscious brain-injured patient. For more information, visit

John Rodgers

Weill Cornell Medicine
Office of External Affairs
Phone: (646) 962-9476