Western University of Health Sciences honored a longtime friend and supporter of the university in dedicating the Lawrence F. Gosenfeld, D.O. Research Laboratory Sept. 11, 2014.
Dr. Gosenfeld gave a $2.25 million gift to WesternU in his will, with $2 million dedicated to student scholarships and $250,000 to expanding the laboratories in WesternU’s Health Education Center.
WesternU Founding President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, said Dr. Gosenfeld was one of the first professors he hired in the early 1980s.
“”He was very loyal and very skillful. Everybody liked him,”” Pumerantz said. “”Larry Gosenfeld is a very important part of this university. He was responsible in large part for its successes. Through the years there have been a lot of people like that. But he stands out.””
The research opportunities in the new laboratory are tremendous, Pumerantz said.
“”He’s going to be known years from now because of the research that’s coming out of it, the scientists and the teachers here,”” Pumerantz said. “”We thank him for his vision.””
Completion of the labs has allowed faculty from several WesternU colleges, including the Graduate College of Biomedical Sciences (GCBS), the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP), the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Optometry and the College of Dental Medicine to have research space, said GCBS Dean Michel Baudry, PhD. The new laboratory space will contribute to research, training and education.
“”Research covers many topics ranging from neuroscience to stem cells, directed not only at better understanding various diseases, but also to provide new diagnostics, research tools and potentially therapy,”” he said. “”It has been said many times that research is the engine of progress, and medical research is certainly the engine to improve quality of life for all humanity.””
Conducting research at an educational institution is important, Baudry said.
“”It is in part because having faculty and students doing research here guarantees that new knowledge and new discoveries are immediately incorporated into the teaching curriculum,”” he said. “”We want to be sure that our students have the power to be the best doctors, veterinarians, optometrists and scientists. Again, thank you very much for giving us this first-class research space and the opportunity to make the world a better place to live in.””
Shelley and Andy Kahn served as executors of Dr. Gosenfeld’s will, and were the guests of honor at the dedication ceremony.
Lawrence Gosenfeld and Shelley Kahn first met when they were 12 years old, and they remained friends throughout their lives. Gosenfeld came from a lower-middle-class background. From the time they met, he wanted to become a doctor, Kahn said. Gosenfeld earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.
During his early years in medical school, he would drive home for vacations. One year, the Kahns gave him money to buy tires so he could make the trip. Dr. Gosenfeld went on to a successful career working as a doctor of psychiatry at the Veterans Administration hospital in West Los Angeles, but he never forgot his humble beginnings.
“”He’s always wanted to help other kids who want to become doctors because he made it and he did very well,”” Kahn said.
The goal is to give scholarships to students who have the most need, Kahn said.
WesternU has awarded 11 scholarships to students, the first Gosenfeld scholars, said COMP Dean Paula Crone, DO.
“”I laid out the challenge to these young men and women to carry on the tradition Dr. Gosenfeld started, a tradition of caring,”” she said. “”I can also assure you they are very grateful for the assistance this scholarship has provided. It allows them continue on in their education, and as you know sometimes all it takes is that set of tires to keep you going forward. Thank you very much, Mr. and Mrs. Kahn, for representing the heart and soul of your dear friend, and I promise you our students will help carry on that tradition.””