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P&S Journal

P&S Journal: Spring 1996, Vol.16, No.2
Profiles In Giving: Medical Couple Makes Three-Way Gift to Columbia

By Peter Wortsman

"Any physician would be nuts if he weren't grateful for his education; he'd be nothing without it!" avows retired obstetrician/gynecologist Felix Vann'33.

In this case, make that gratitude times two!

To M.D.s Dorothea and Felix Vann, their education has been the foundation of a rich and fruitful life together. She earned her B.A. at Barnard (Class of 1933) before going on to Cornell Medical College and a satisfying career in pediatrics. A Columbia College graduate (Class of 1930), he went on to P&S and a successful practice in obstetrics and gynecology, specializing in infertility and gynecological endocrinology and oncology.

The couple has decided to return the kindness in the form of The Dorothea D. and Felix H. Vann Fund, a three-way unrestricted gift to Columbia University, to be divided equally among Barnard, Columbia College, and P&S.
Dorothea and Felix Vann'33

Both practiced for close to half a century in Englewood, N.J. (where among hundreds of babies, he delivered actor John Travolta), so it was only fitting that the revenues from the sale of a piece of property there that at one time housed his medical office should one day benefit Columbia.

Based on a Life Income agreement, Columbia invests the principle of their generous gift and assures them a modest annual return throughout their lives, throughout the life of the surviving spouse, and throughout the life of their son, Richard D. Vann, Ph.D., a medical researcher at Duke University.

The real dividend, Felix Vann points out, is the feeling that you're helping a great institution to meet its needs. "You can't take it with you! And I'm a great believer in giving some of what you've got."

After serving as a battalion surgeon during World War II, through four campaigns, including the famous Battle of the Bulge, Felix Vann built up a thriving OB/GYN practice. Among his proudest professional achievements was the co-founding of the Bergen County Blood Bank in 1952, a vital resource that's still going strong today. In 1991, he was honored as the Northern Valley Red Cross 75th Anniversary Man of the Year.

Following retirement from practice, Dorothea Vann discovered her avocation as a painter and has exhibited extensively and won awards at the American Physician's Art Association and the Bergen County Artists Guild. Felix Vann has returned to an early passion for history, family genealogy, and Shakespearean studies.

Both Drs. Vann have been active over the years in medical, civic, and community affairs. As P&S Annual Fund Class chairman since 1968, Felix Vann personally has overseen the support of his class, which ranks among the most active and generous. Having served the P&S Alumni Association in many capacities, including as director, vice president, and historian, he received the Alumni Federation Medal in 1981.

The Vanns also have lent their support to the P&S Annual Fund, the Dean's Fund for the 21st Century, and the Women's Resource Center at CPMC.

Information on various Planned Giving options can be obtained from Anke Nolting at (212) 305-3498.

copyright ©, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center

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