News and analysis
February 06, 2011

No. 19 (tied): P. Roy and Diana T. Vagelos

Amount donated in 2010: $50-million

Beneficiary: Columbia University Medical Center

Donors’ background: Roy Vagelos is a retired chairman of the Merck & Company pharmaceuticals corporation, in Whitehouse Station, N.J., and is currently chairman of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, in Tarrytown, N.Y.

Dr. Vagelos, 81, and his wife, Diana, 76, gave $50-million to Columbia University Medical Center, in New York, for a new building. He earned his medical degree from Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1954. Dr. Vagelos serves as chairman of Columbia University Medical Center’s Board of Visitors.

Mrs. Vagelos serves on Barnard College’s Board of Trustees, in New York, and on the board of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in Newark.

The couple said the techniques taught in graduate and medical schools have changed greatly over the past decade, and they hope their gift helps provide students with the most advanced technology available.

Dr. and Mrs. Vagelos, who met while he was a medical student at the university and she was a student at Barnard (which was then part of Columbia’s system), also said they hope the new building provides “some social space for students to interact, study, and just enjoy their experience.”

— Maria Di Mento

View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2010.