Massive Donation from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Endows Medical School

When Michael Dell dropped out of the University of Texas to build computers back in 1984, he probably wasn't given much of a chance by many of his peers. (Read Michael Dell's IP profile.) But the fact of the matter is, he's done pretty well for himself. At last count, his net worth was $15.3 billion. He certainly doesn't seem to harbor any hard feelings about his university experience because, through his family foundation, he's given the University of Texas a lot of support in building a medical school.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has made a $50 million commitment to establish the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. (See Dell Foundation: Grants for Hospitals and Health Centers.) The school will be run as a partnership that includes the University of Texas, the Seton Healthcare Family hospital group, and Travis County, in which Austin is located. The foundation has committed another $10 million to Austin and Travis County community health quality and access programs each year for the next 10 years. The foundation touts these donations as part of what it describes as "a multi-year, $150 million investment to establish Austin as a center for excellence in family health."

In a Dell Foundation press release, Susan Dell said, "A medical school at UT-Austin further establishes Central Texas as a center of excellence for family health and research. UT is a world-class university, and the medical school will be able to attract top talent, advance medical research and practices, and improve family health for generations to come." (Read Susan Dell's IP profile.)

In addition to Dell's investment in the new medical school, county voters approved a small property tax increase to fund the school's operations. The university plans to break ground on the facility this year and enroll students by 2016. (See Dell Foundation: Grants for Medical School.)

This donation is not the first given to the university from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Since 2007, it has given more than $100 million in grants to support health-care services at the university. That amount includes a grant of $38 million to help build the Dell Pediatric Research Institute, as well as large grants in support of the Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, and the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity.