Local philanthropists Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, who just months ago committed a staggering $200 million to build a new medical school in Clearwater, have announced another major gift of $25 million.
Once again the lucky recipient is the private Nova Southeastern University based in Fort Lauderdale, which Kiran Patel said has been receptive to his vision of a medical curriculum with a truly international focus.
"Somebody has to believe in that, and that's what I find very heartwarming and encouraging, that we both share a common vision," Patel said in an interview this week.
The Patels' gift will go toward scholarships for needy students at NSU's College of Allopathic Medicine, where students earn M.D.s.
Their previous commitment — a $150 million real estate investment and a $50 million gift — went toward NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine and is funding the creation of a Tampa Bay Regional Campus in Clearwater, where the osteopathic program will expand.
Now both M.D. and D.O. programs will be named for Kiran Patel.
"I just felt that it will be appropriate for my partnership with Nova where all medical graduates come out of one college called the Patel college," he said.
In March, NSU will host a groundbreaking ceremony at the Clearwater site, Patel said.
"We are moving rapidly," he said. "It is unbelievable that we will have a college starting in 2019."
This latest gift from the Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel Family Foundation, announced Saturday night at a gala event in Fort Lauderdale, also brought Nova Southeastern within the two-yard line of its $250 million fundraising campaign. A university trustee inspired by the Patels donated enough to push the campaign over the line — three years early.
The chairman of NSU's board of trustees, Ronald Assaf, and his wife, Kathy, donated more than $5 million to NSU's College of Nursing, which will be named for them.
Patel, a former cardiologist who runs the Tampa-based managed health care company Freedom Health, made most of his fortune 15 years ago when he sold another HMO, WellCare Health Plans, for a reported $200 million. He and his wife turned to philanthropy, donating many millions to the University of South Florida, local hospitals and the arts.
Patel said he is also planning a medical college in both India and Zambia. He wants to expose American students to the world and bring international students to the U.S. for their education.
Between the colleges at NSU and those international plans, he said he envisions producing thousands of doctors who will send ripple effects of their care out into the world.
"The opportunity I have been given, be it at USF, be it at Nova or other places I'm creating … I just consider myself extremely fortunate and blessed to be able to do something for others," he said.
Contact Claire McNeill at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8321.