Miracle Makers: Georgia Gosnell
Outstanding Commitment by an Individual
When Georgia Gosnell heard the plans for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the new Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, she immediately wanted to support the project. She wanted to help give families the space and privacy they need when their newborns are critically ill. Her commitment of $5 million will name the new unit the Gosnell Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and will transform the way we care for our tiniest patients.
For her incredible generosity, Mrs. Gosnell is receiving this year’s Miracle Maker Award recipient for Outstanding Commitment by an Individual from Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Mrs. Gosnell and her late husband, Thomas, have long been supporters of the University of Rochester Medical Center, having already donated more than $3 million in ongoing giving. The latest commitment, announced in September 2012, is among the largest the children’s hospital has received since the public launch of its $100 million campaign in October 2011. The campaign, which supports both a new children’s hospital and major enhancements to pediatric programs, is part of the URMC’s $650 million campaign and the overall $1.2 billion goal of The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester.
“Without forward-thinking philanthropists like Georgia and Tom Gosnell, we wouldn’t be breaking ground on a new children’s hospital tailored to the needs of families of today and tomorrow,” said Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D, William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics (2006-17) and pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “‘Grateful’ doesn’t begin to describe how we feel about Georgia’s generosity to our region’s most fragile babies.”
The new Gosnell Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will include 60 beds both in the new building and in the current NICU space on the third floor of Strong Memorial Hospital. The unit in the new building will provide intensive care to the region’s sickest babies in private rooms. Renovations will be made to the current NICU space in Strong Memorial to deliver highly specialized care for babies who need less acute treatment.
It was the intensive care needed by 1,200 newborns in the region each year that inspired Mrs. Gosnell to make her gift on behalf of herself and her husband. Her two girls were born very small almost 60 years ago at Strong Memorial before the NICU existed. One of them, Elizabeth Gosnell Miller, gave the family—and the physicians—quite a scare when she was born in 1962.
“Her heartbeat had stopped, so they did an emergency caesarian,” Mrs. Gosnell recalled. “She had the umbilical cord around her neck six times, which was a record.” Both girls recovered.
Mr. Gosnell, who died in 2009, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and earned many honors during his service, including a Purple Heart. He then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Yale and worked his way up in the Lawyers Co-Op publishing firm from elevator operator to become the fourth generation of his family to run the company.
The Gosnell family is one of Rochester’s most generous families, having supported URMC, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Al Sigl Center, Genesee Land Trust, and the Memorial Art Gallery, among other important Rochester institutions. In fact, the Gosnells left visible marks on the community, having been instrumental in the restoration of The George Eastman House and the wing-footed Mercury statue atop the Aqueduct Building along the Genesee river in downtown Rochester.
In 2015, when the Gosnell Neonatal Intensive Care Unit opens, the couple’s impact on the region will be felt deeply by the children and families the unit will serve. Its impact will be immeasurable. For that, it is with great enthusiasm that we honor Mrs. Gosnell with a 2013 Miracle Maker Award for Outstanding Commitment by an Individual.