In the ultimate friendly merger, the corporate
raider Carl C. Icahn is giving $200 million to the Mount Sinai
School of Medicine in Manhattan, which will be renamed in his honor.
Mr. Icahn actually attended medical school at New York
University for two years, pressed by his mother, Bella. But he dropped out
because he "hated it,” he said Wednesday.
"My mother would be proud of me today,” Mr. Icahn, 76,
said. "My name is involved with a medical school.”
Henceforth, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, on the
Upper East Side, will be known as the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Mr. Icahn said his gift was influenced by what he
called the socialist legacy of his father, Michael, a "dogmatic atheist” who
nonetheless worked as a cantor after he did not achieve his ambition of being a
singer at the Metropolitan Opera.
Of the medical school, Mr. Icahn said, "It does help
the people that aren’t that fortunate,” adding that he had chosen his other
philanthropic ventures — like several charter
schools — for the same reason. "I do feel there is too much disparity in the
city between the wealthy and the not wealthy.”
The Icahn gift comprises about $50 million already
given and an additional $150 million still to come, said Dr. Kenneth L. Davis,
president and chief executive of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, which includes
Dr. Davis said the gift had been nurtured over nine
years of dinners and discussions with Mr. Icahn, a medical school trustee, and
would be heavily devoted to building research capability.
The naming of New York City medical
schools appears to have undergone some inflation. Mr. Icahn’s gift is
the $100 million that Sanford I. Weill, the Wall Street deal maker, pledged,
with his wife, Joan, before Cornell University’s medical college was named for
them in 1998. In 2008, Kenneth G. Langone, a founder of Home Depot, gave $100
million, matching an earlier donation of his, to what became NYU Langone
Mr. Icahn said he did not feel competitive with Mr.
Langone and Mr. Weill. "If they wanted to give a dollar more,” he said, "I’d let
them have the honor.”