Jeremy Jacobs and family give UB second-largest donation in history

New medical campus to be named after Jacobs


UB’s new downtown medical campus has a $200 million donation goal. On Monday morning, the funds for that drive increased 15 percent.

“What had been $130 million on Sunday [is] $160 million today,” said Michael E. Cain, dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and vice president of health services. “Thirty million dollars has real purchase power.”

Jeremy M. Jacobs, chairman of the UB Council and Delaware North, a food service and hospitality company based in Buffalo, and his family gave the second-largest donation in UB’s history on Monday. The medical school will be named the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. This is the first time UB has named a school after someone. It brings the Jacobs family’s total donations to UB to more than $50 million.

“The Western New York community has been very good to my family and our company,” Jacobs said at a press conference to announce the donation Monday morning at the medical campus. “We are proud to reinvest in the region and improve the health of the community. I look forward to the medical campus’ completion in 2017.”

The $30 million donation is an exclamation point on Jacobs’ long history with UB, as he graduated from the university in the 1950s and has served as chair of the UB Foundation and adviser to the School of Management in addition to being UB Council chairman since 1998.

Jacobs’ donation and all of the money received for the $200 million donation goal will go toward building the new medical campus, which has moved from South Campus to downtown, according to Cain. That building process is both literal and figurative, as Cain said the donations will go toward “both building new buildings and building new programs that help our faculty and students,” including scholarships.

Cain said the donation brings more than just funds to the school – it also brings prestige. He said it’s prestigious to have a medical school named after someone, as only 11 of the 62 Association of American Universities, of which UB is a part of, are named after someone. He said that sends a message that Jacobs and his family believe strongly in the direction of the school.

“It’s not just money,” Cain said. “You’re putting your family name out there.”

The donation process occurs over a long period of time. Cain said UB’s leadership has been interacting with Jacobs for years to establish their relationship and come to an understanding of how important it is for the school to have philanthropy.

Jacobs, Cain and President Satish Tripathi met in June and came to a verbal agreement that Jacobs would donate $30 million. Cain said it takes some time to get the process completed and that the last step was getting the SUNY Board of Trustees to grant UB permission to name the medical school after Jacobs.

As for why Jacobs and his family wanted to make the donation, Cain said he thinks it’s because of Jacobs’ Buffalo roots.

“He is a Buffaloian,” Cain said. “He has come to understand that for Buffalo to have a great health care system that it needs a great medical school.”

Cain said he thinks the donation will encourage other local leaders to give so the campus can reach the $40 million remaining for its goal.

“I think it will help get us that $40 million because this is an internationally recognized individual,” Cain said. “And when you look at others that have made public donations toward the school and you add the Jacobs name, this telegraphs the message that a very prominent and very well-respected community leader believes that investment in the medical school is the right thing to do.”

Tom Dinki is the editor in chief and can be reached at tom.dinki@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tomdinki.