Columbia University and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital have renamed their shared medical campus in Washington Heights in honor of two of their most significant benefactors, Herbert and Florence Irving. In September, the institutions announced that the campus will now be called the Columbia University Herbert and Florence Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
The Irving name is already well known at the medical center, which is home to the Herbert Irving Pavilion, the Irving Cancer Research Center, the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, the Irving Radiation Oncology Center, the Irving Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Irvings’ donations and commitments over time to Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian will ultimately exceed $300 million. Most recently, they made donations to support Columbia’s precision-medicine initiative.
Herbert Irving was a cofounder and vice chairman of Sysco Corporation, the nation’s largest food distributor. He died on October 3, at age ninety-eight, just weeks after the medical campus was named in his honor. He and Florence, both of whom were born and raised in Brooklyn, had been married for seventy-four years.
“One of the proudest things we’ve done has been to support the terrific doctors at Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian,” the couple said in a statement on September 21. “This is a relationship that has endured for many years and been very important to us. We are honored to be associated in this way with these great institutions and the special people who make them what they are.”
A joint statement issued by Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger, NewYork-Presbyterian president and CEO Steven J. Corwin, and Columbia University Medical Center chief executive and dean Lee Goldman praised Herbert and Florence Irving for being “among the most generous benefactors in the history of our institutions.”