"What has happened here surpasses anything I did or could dream of."
Edward Stephen Harkness (1874–1940)
LLD (hon.) 1928
Edward S. Harkness, whose name is still prominent on buildings at Columbia University Medical Center, is arguably the most important person in the facility's history. When Columbia went looking for a hospital to form a medical center, Harkness made it happen - resigning from the board of Roosevelt Hospital and joining that of Presbyterian Hospital after Roosevelt declined Columbia's offer to for a partnership. He then donated land and money to build the original medical center and additional buildings. When Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center was dedicated in 1928, Harkness received an honorary degree. Without his persistence and "princely benefactions," the citation read, the center might never have been built. Harkness and his family gave more than $47 million to the hospital and P&S, and both were named as beneficiaries in his will.