University of Rochester Medical Center Loses Remarkable Benefactor
Mrs. Georgia Gosnell and her late husband, Thomas, have had a long history of giving in the Rochester area, and have left an indelible mark on the University of Rochester Medical Center. Mrs. Gosnell passed away Dec. 17, surrounded by her family.
“Mrs. Gosnell was one of those rare souls who made it her job to make a positive impact on the people and community around her. Whether through her beautiful smile or her generosity, she was quick to spread the joy in her heart,” said Ray Mayewski, M.D., chief medical officer for UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital and Mrs. Gosnell’s personal physician. “We will miss her and her spirit.”
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 on the top of the Aqueduct Building along the river in downtown Rochester.
Mr. Gosnell, who died five years ago, was chairman emeritus of RIT’s Board of Trustees and was a major force behind that school’s Access to the Future fundraising campaign that raised more than $120 million. He 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.
Mr. and Mrs. Gosnell met after World War II and shared a common love of sailing. Their love of sailing persisted and the couple’s name graces RIT’s Boathouse. Mrs. Gosnell has loaned out the couple’s yacht, the Timoneer, to bring educational aid to isolated communities around the world.
Most recently Mrs. Gosnell committed $5 million to name the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the new Golisano Children’s Hospital. The $5 million commitment, announced in 2012, will help fund the hospital’s new Gosnell Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which will include at least 60 beds both in the new building and in the current NICU space on the third floor of Strong Memorial Hospital. The Gosnell NICU in the new building will provide intensive care to the region’s sickest babies in private rooms.
When she committed to the gift, Mrs. Gosnell said that she was inspired to help because of her own experience. 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 and her heart stopped. Both girls recovered.
Mrs. Gosnell’s gift is among the largest to the new Golisano Children’s Hospital.
“Without forward-thinking philanthropists like Georgia and Tom Gosnell, we wouldn’t be able to build a new children’s hospital for our region’s children and their families,” said Nina F. Schor, M.D., Ph.D, the William H. Eilinger Chair of Pediatrics and pediatrician-in-chief of Golisano Children’s Hospital. “The legacy Georgia leaves in our region will be long and deep and felt by every one of the families of the 1,200 babies who come through the Gosnell Neonatal Intensive Care Unit every year.”