Skip to Main Content

A gift from Yale comes full circle, leaving a legacy

You will receive a degree in four years, but “you have the rest of your life to earn it,” then-Dean Vernon W. Lippard, M.D., told the Yale School of Medicine’s first-year class in 1960.

It was David Leof ’s first day as a medical student. He found the dean’s remark duly sobering. But he was also elated at having so much freedom to pursue his interests and passions. He and his classmates were not graded nor ranked, took no exams other than the national boards, and thrived in an intellectually rich atmosphere that stressed collaboration rather than competition. The result for him was a powerful enthusiasm for medicine, and for Yale, that has endured for more than 50 years.

Leof and his wife, Colleen, have repaid that gift with one of their own: a multimillion-dollar bequest. Their gift will support medical students who have distinguished themselves in the arts or humanities. Colleen Leof is an accomplished painter, and David Leof, a psychiatrist, says his medical training was enhanced by his exposure to drama, art, and architecture at Yale. He remains forever grateful: “It seemed only morally right that the bulk of my estate—which was created by me being a physician, which was created by Yale—should be returned to Yale.”
David M.D. ’65 and Colleen Leof with Isha Marina di Bartolo, the first Leof Scholar. In addition to their bequest, the Leof's funded their scholarship with an outright gift to the endowment.