Florida Atlantic Receives $28 Million Gift from Wood Family to Support Medical Education Scholarships and $11.5 Million to Support Amyloidosis Research

Physicians often say the desire to practice medicine is a “calling,” and now, more aspiring doctors can answer that call and practice specialties in which they can make the greatest impact thanks to a transformative gift from Ann and John Wood and their FairfaxWood Scholarship Foundation to Florida Atlantic’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

Their $28 million estate pledge is the largest scholarship gift in Florida Atlantic’s history and the largest known scholarship gift to a Florida public university’s medical school.

In 2021, they established the Robert A. Wood FAU Medical Scholars Fund to support 10 medical students through all four years of medical school. The fund named in honor of their son was expanded in two successive years for 20 additional students each year, so they are presently supporting 50 medical students. Then, in 2022, the Woods expanded their impact with a gift of $28 million.

It is the hope of Ann and John Wood that this gift will inspire others to join in and grow the gift to sufficiently cover the tuition of every Florida Atlantic medical student. The current cost of in-state tuition and fees per medical student for one year is $35,000, which amounts to $140,000 for four years. Students from outside of Florida also may participate to receive support at the in-state tuition rate.

“It is a calling to help and heal. With this gift, Ann and I want future doctors, regardless of their socioeconomic status, to follow their hearts in deciding what they want to study and practice,” said philanthropist John Wood. “Our hope is this gift will inspire others to help these students complete their medical education debt-free. The world needs doctors without debt.”

The Woods also gave an $11.5 million gift to create the FairfaxWood Health & Innovation Technology Initiative, focused on understanding and seeking cures for amyloidosis, a life-threatening condition. The goal is to understand the underlying cause so that medical mediations can be undertaken.

To support this initiative, Michael R. Dobbs, M.D., M.H.C.M., will serve as the inaugural chair of clinical neurosciences, housed in the College of Medicine. An expert in vascular neurology, Dobbs will employ collaborative expertise in artificial intelligence and cutting-edge data to reimagine how rare diseases are studied. Funds will also support advocacy and outreach initiatives to create awareness about amyloidosis.

In August, longtime friend and Florida Atlantic benefactor John Wood passed away. As we mourn the loss of John in our community, we also celebrate his extraordinary generosity, vision, and legacy.