Miller School Receives Largest Medical Education Gift Ever — $6 Million in Scholarships for Medica
South Florida philanthropists Swanee and Paul J. DiMare have made a $6 million gift to support medical education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The gift, part of the $12.5 million pledged by the Paul J. DiMare Foundation to Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami, will fund scholarships for promising medical students. The scholarship recipients will be known as DiMare Medical Scholars.
“This is the largest gift in support of medical education the School has ever received,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of UHealth. “The DiMares’ extraordinary generosity will help raise the quality of healthcare throughout South Florida for generations to come.”
Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., professor and Executive Dean for Education and Policy at the medical school, added that the scholarship program “will enable us to compete with other top schools for students whom we were unable to retain on our accepted list due to lack of scholarship funding.”
“Swanee and I are proud to be part of such a wonderful institution,” said Paul DiMare. “The University of Miami touches so many lives in our community and beyond.” He was troubled when he heard that promising students were going elsewhere due to a lack of scholarships. “I said to myself, ‘This is terrible. We can’t be losing the top students.’ Now we’ll be able to match the money.”
“The DiMare gift will bring us much closer to the goal of attracting the best students in America to study here,” said Richard S. Weisman, Pharm.D., Associate Dean for Admissions. “The School has been losing as many as 40 of the brightest students each year to other schools where they were able to receive scholarships. Our community will benefit tremendously from this gift as these young physicians train and practice medicine in South Florida at the University of Miami and our partner hospitals.”
Kristy Whyte, a third-year medical student who obtained a merit scholarship through existing resources at the School, exemplifies the future students who will benefit from the DiMares’ generosity. “I applied to a number of medical schools, but I really wanted UM,” she said. “I come from a single-parent family, and the scholarship has made a world of difference. It’s a dream come true.”
Part of the DiMare’s overall giving is a $500,000 pledge to the Miller School for research related to sports medicine. “The DiMares’ gift will allow us to investigate regenerative medicine opportunities within sports,” said Lee Kaplan, M.D., chief of the Division of Sports Medicine. “More valuable than the gift is the guidance and leadership that Paul has showed me in Sports Medicine.”
Another portion of the DiMares’ commitment is a $1 million gift to The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, which benefits The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a Center of Excellence at the Miller School dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury. Paul DiMare is a director and trustee of The Buoniconti Fund.
The DiMares are vice chairs of the Momentum2 campaign. Paul DiMare, the president of DiMare Brothers, Inc., and DiMare Homestead, Inc., an organization of growers, packers, and shippers of whole fresh fruits and vegetables, is on the UM Board of Trustees. “Swanee and Paul DiMare are pillars of our community with deep ties to the University of Miami,” said Donna E. Shalala, President of the University. “We are so thankful for their leadership and extraordinary commitment to the University’s mission.”
“Swanee and Paul DiMare are true champions of philanthropy. Their generous support of so many critical areas at the University will have a profound and lasting impact on thousands of our students, faculty, physicians and patients,” said Sergio M. Gonzalez, Senior Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs. “We are very grateful for everything they do to support education and the wellbeing of our community.”
The Frost School of Music will receive $2 million to support the fund to build a new 200-seat recital hall. Its lobby will be named the Swanee and Paul J. DiMare Lobby in their honor.
Gifts to Athletics include $1 million toward the new Schwartz Center for Athletic Excellence, where the Paul J. DiMare Gallery of Champions showcases individual and team titles, such as UM’s five national championships in football, as well as awards like the Heisman Trophies won by former Hurricanes Gino Torretta and Vinny Testaverde. Additionally, they have provided $1.5 million in funding toward athletic scholarships. Paul DiMare is also the Momentum2 campaign chair for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The School of Education and Human Development, where Paul DiMare serves on the Visiting Committee, has also been a beneficiary of the DiMares’ generosity.