By Rahel Solomon, Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Drexel University popped the corks Wednesday to celebrate a $45 million gift for the School of Public Health.

The School is now named after Dana and David Dornsife, two longtime philanthropists and supporters of Drexel. Dana Dornsife is a 1983 graduate and founder of the Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

Dean Ana Diez Roux, says the $45 million gift will allow the school to attract top faculty and students and pursue some lofty goals.

“It will allow us to position ourselves as leaders in urban public health and advance our mission of making cities healthier for all, transforming scientific evidence into real actions here in Philadelphia and all over the globe.”


“I’m really hoping it puts Drexel on the global map in relation to public health,” said Dornsife.

The money will be used to attract top professors and offer scholarships to promising students. It will also mean enhancing the school’s research efforts.

“This gift will really allow us to take it to the next level,” said Dean Ana Diez Roux.

Diez Roux tells CBS 3 the school is relatively young but they’re already making significant strides right here at home.

“We have faculty for example who are evaluating the physical activity impact of the bike share program,” said Diez Roux.

Now she hopes Wednesday’s gift will accelerate that growth making the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health a global name.

“What can we learn from cities elsewhere all other the globe, what can Philadelphia learn from other cities, what can other cities learn from Philadelphia,” said Diez Roux.

Three years ago, the Dornsifes gave Drexel $10 million to establish a center connecting the university’s students and faculty with their residential neighbors in Mantua and Powelton.

The Dean tells CBS 3 today’s gift is one of the largest in the school’s history. She says hopefully the work coming out of the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health will not only have a global impact but will also affect neighboring communities.