09/27/2010 04:37 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Columbia University Medical Center Receives $50 Million Donation

The Columbia University Medical Center is $50 million richer.

The center today received a $50 million donation from Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, medical school alumnus and former CEO of Merck & Co., and his wife, Barnard alumna Diana Vagelos. The money will go towards construction of a new medical and graduate building in Washington Heights, and makes CUMC one of the first medical schools nationwide to have received such funding, according to the school.

In a statement to members of the Columbia community, University President Lee C. Bollinger lauded the Vagelos' continued support, saying "With this latest demonstration of generosity, they are helping establish a new sense of community and campus life at our medical center in Washington Heights that is so important to our attracting future generations of talented medical students and faculty."

Overall, Columbia plans to spend $185 million on the revitalization project, which will include building renovations, addition of green space and consolidation of student services. The Wall Street Journal notes that the project calls for an administrative and curricular overhaul as well.

Vagelos said a portion of the money will certainly go towards student scholarship, and is intended to lower the tuition costs for Columbia students.