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Indian American Physician Couple Pledge $50 Million to Florida College

Dr Kiran C Patel and Dr Pallavi Patel at Nova Southeastern University.

A Tampa physician couple has made one of the largest gifts to a U.S. educational institution by an Indian American.

Cardiologist Kiran C Patel and his wife, Pediatrician Pallavi Patel, have donated $50 million to Nova Southeastern University (NSU) to expand its programs in osteopathic medicine and health care sciences.

NSU President Dr. George Hanbury said: “This is the largest philanthropic commitment in NSU’s history and a gift that is the seventh largest ever given to any university in the state of Florida.”

NSU has renamed two of its colleges as the Dr Kiran C Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Dr Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences in recognition of the gift.

Speaking at an NSU event unveiling the gift, Patel said: “We firmly believe that the best gift anybody can give to anyone is the gift of education. Once you educate a person, you transform his life, family’s life, and the society and the country.”

The $50 million gift is the fourth largest by an Indian American to a U.S. educational institution. Earlier this month, Rajen A Kilachand, chairman and president of the Dubai based Dodsal Group, a mining, construction, manufacturing, and trading conglomerate, gifted $115 million to his alma mater Boston University to create the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering. In 2015, Chandrika Tandon and Ranjan Tandon, who made their fortune in the financial sector, gifted $100 million to New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, which was renamed the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Venture Capital Fund Manager Kavitark Shriram and his wife Vidjealatchoumy Shriram gifted $57 million to Stanford University in 2014 to construct the Shriram Center for Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering.

Artist rendering of a planned Nova Southeastern University Campus in Clearwater. Photo: Nova Southeastern University.

The Patels plan to invest an additional $150 million to develop a 325,000-square foot medical education complex in Tampa, which will house NSU’s Tampa Bay Regional Campus starting in Fall 2019. The complex is planned at the 27-acre site of the former Clearwater Christian College, which the Patel Family Foundation purchased last year for $10.2 million. NSU has entered into a 20-year agreement to rent the complex for its Tampa campus. Its osteopathic medicine college will add 150 students starting 2019 on the Tampa campus, which combined with the 230 students currently enrolled on its main campus on Davie, outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will make it the largest osteopathic medicine college in the state.

Patel, who was born in Zambia and received his medical training at Gujarat University, where he met his future wife Pallavi, is also developing a college in the Vadodara area in Gujarat. He envisages collaborations and student and faculty exchanges between the India college and NSU.

Patel made his fortune when he sold an HMO, WellCare Health Plans, for a reported $200 million in 2002. He currently controls America’s 1st Choice Holdings of Florida Inc., the largest privately-owned health plan in the United States with revenues of $1.5 billion. He also owns several hotels, including the $175 million Wyndham Grand Resort on Clearwater Beach.

NSU, a private nonprofit university, enrolls 23,000 students on its eight regional campuses in Florida, Puerto Rico and online.

The Patels are renowned for their philanthropy in the Tampa region. Most recently, in March 2017, they donated $5 million to The Florida Hospital Carrollwood. Earlier, they gifted $12 million to the University of South Florida to establish the Patel College of Global Sustainability and $5 million to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center for the Pallavi Patel Performing Arts Conservatory.

Five Largest Gifts by Indian Americans to Education & Health

  • $115 million in 2013 by Rajen A Kilachand, chairman of Duba-based Dodsal Group, a mining, construction, manufacturing, and trading conglomerate, to Boston University for the Rajen Kilachand Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering.
  • $100 million in 2015 by Financial Advisors Chandrika Tandon and Ranjan Tandon to New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering.
  • $57 million in 2014 by Venture Capitalist Kavitark Shriram and his wife Vidjealatchoumy Shriram to Stanford University for the Shriram Center for Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering.
  • $50 million in 2017 by Cardiologist Kiran C Patel and Pediatrician Pallavi Patel to Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida.
  • $30 million in 2007 by Monte Ahuja of Transtar Industries to University Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2007.
  • $20 million each in 2001 by Raj Vattikuti, founder of Covansys Corp., to Henry Ford Hospital and William Beaumont Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.
  • $20 million in 2002 by Sycamore cofounder Gururaj Deshpande and his wife Jaishree Deshpande to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston.

See also 15 Largest Gifts by Indian Philanthropists

Artist rendering of a planned Nova Southeastern University Campus in Clearwater. The Patel’s have committed $150 million to develop a 325,000 square foot medical education complex that will house NSU’s Tampa Bay Regional Campus. Photo: Nova Southeastern University.

This article was updated on Oct 4 with information on the gift by Rajen A Kilachand to Boston University.