Deborah and David Roberts’ Gift to Support Students and Endowed Faculty

Deborah and David Roberts

David and Deborah Roberts

Mr. Roberts, son of the late Weill Cornell Medicine benefactor Jill Roberts, and his wife, Deborah, have designated their estate gift for student scholarships and endowed faculty positions that will advance the institution’s culture of excellence for years to come.

“My mother was a passionate supporter of Weill Cornell Medicine, having funded the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” says Mr. Roberts. “And we want to continue her legacy of generosity to one of the finest academic medical centers.”

Mr. Roberts first made a gift to Weill Cornell Medicine’s educational programs in 2019, when he and his mother launched the Roberts Diversity Scholar Awards, which provide vital support for students who choose to pursue careers aimed at better serving the health needs of a diverse population. The scholarship came about after Mr. Roberts conferred with Dr. Yoon Kang, senior associate dean for education, about the need to improve health-care disparities in the communities the institution serves.

The scholarship program currently provides $50,000 per year, per student, for up to three years. There have been five recipients so far, an accomplishment that fills Mr. and Mrs. Roberts with joy. One exciting project examined how various cancer treatments can have different side effects based on a patient’s skin color.

When the couple made their recent bequest, they knew they wanted it to help future students, but they didn’t want to restrict it to any particular need. In 20 years or so, Mrs. Roberts adds, Weill Cornell Medicine might need more stipends to help students afford a medical education or perhaps the institution will need more star faculty to teach new physician-scientists. The gift will be there to help.

As an added benefit, the Roberts’ generous gift qualified for the institution’s Legacy Match Challenge, generating $125,000 in immediate cash for the new student residence under construction at the corner of 74th Street and York Avenue in Manhattan. Student-focused initiatives, like the residence, are key priorities of the current We’re Changing Medicine campaign.

“When you give to Weill Cornell Medicine, you are investing in a best-in-class institution that helps people in so many ways,” says Mr. Roberts. “My mother understood that, and that is why we want to honor her memory with a planned gift that will touch lives for many years to come.”

Milestones Archives

Milestones, the Weill Cornell institutional newsletter, is published four times a year and highlights some of our recent donors and exciting developments.

(Click below to view PDF)