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 PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:06 pm   
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FIU medical school receives $10M gift

Posted on Wed, May. 28, 2008


The largest cash donation ever to Florida International University, $10 million, was announced Wednesday at the school's soon-to-open medical school.

The donor: Benjamin Leon Jr., owner of the fast-growing Leon Medical Centers in South Florida. The money will go toward establishing a center for geriatric medicine at FIU's newest school, which is recruiting students for its inaugural class.

''This will bring incredible recognition, status, and everything else to the family,'' said FIU President Modesto ''Mitch'' Maidique. ``This is something we've been working on for a long time.''

Maidique called the donation, to be spread out over five years, one of the largest university gifts ever made by a Cuban-American benefactor. The first $2 million installment was presented during a ceremony FIU Wednesday.

The gift is eligible for a matching grant from the state's Major Gifts Trust Fund, so the donation represents another $10 million for the school.

The decision to establish the Benjamin Leon Jr. Family Center for Geriatric Research and Education meshes well with FIU's strategy to educate doctors by focusing on community healthcare at the grass-roots level, Maidique said. Students will use Leon's network of clinics for rotations.

In a written statement provided to reporters early Wednesday, Leon said he has long been committed to the health needs of the ``Medicare population.''

''Our society is best judged by how it cares for its elders,'' Leon said in the statement. ``I am wholeheartedly committed to improving the lives of our seniors. This new center will provide great opportunities to improve healthcare delivery for the aging population.''

FIU is struggling through the most difficult budget cuts in recent memory. Layoffs, program cuts and higher tuition are some of the issues FIU and other state universities are coping with.

 PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:44 pm   
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