New York Medical College

2005 press releases



VALHALLA, N.Y., March 4, 2005 – New York Medical College has received the single largest donation in its history, a $5 million gift from Sidney E. Frank, chairman and founder of Sidney Frank Importing Company. The gift will endow the Sidney E. Frank Distinguished Professorship in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and will support a variety of educational and research programs. The goal is to understand what triggers certain forms of psychiatric illness, including medical conditions, depression, and stress related to trauma, disaster or terrorism. "I wanted to demonstrate my firm belief in the practice of psychiatry to change people's lives for the better," Mr. Frank said as the reason for his gift.

Rev. Msgr. Harry C. Barrett, D.Min., M.P.H., president and chief executive officer at the College, observed the gift's focus on underserved populations: "We are inspired by Mr. Frank's generous act. Its impact on the academic mission of the College, and in particular the Department of Psychiatry, will be to improve the lives and mental health of the communities and individuals we serve. Endowed chairs and professorships are a hallmark of any great university. Mr. Frank's gift secures our place in these ranks."

Joseph T. English, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, praised the gift's magnitude and reach. "It is far more encompassing than the typical endowed chair or professorship," he said. "This gift will allow the department to expand current programs and create new ones that have been envisioned for some time, and would not have been possible otherwise."

Michael Blumenfield, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and the first holder of the endowed professorship, expressed his appreciation for the honor and the opportunity it affords the College. "This endowment is a fitting way to perpetuate the name and generosity of Sidney E. Frank, whose contributions to education and healthcare are well known. I'm proud to be so named, and I look forward to seeing the enhanced programs, research and training that will emerge."

Mr. Frank's personal and corporate philanthropy ranges from Brown University in Providence, R.I., which received $100 million last fall, to White Plains Hospital in White Plains, N.Y. A native of Norwich, Conn., Sidney E. Frank rose from humble beginnings to marry the daughter of the chairman of Schenley Company, then the world's largest distillery, where he began working, eventually becoming president. In 1972, he started Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc., and quickly gained fame as the marketing genius behind Grey Goose Vodka, Jaegermeister Liquor and Gekkeikan Sake. Still active as chairman of the board, Mr. Frank divides his time between his home in New Rochelle, N.Y., and another residence in California.