$4 Million to Make the Improbable Possible
Steven A. Guttenberg took his children to see where he grew up in Passaic, New Jersey, a poor neighborhood that he said made the kids afraid to get out of the car.
"I wanted to show them what you get from hard work, and not being handed a silver spoon," Steven says.
Now a successful oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Washington, D.C., Steven knows about hard work. Steven started working towards his dental career as a young boy with the guidance of his dental technician father.
"He taught me how to mix plaster and stone and pour models and wax crowns," Steven says. "And I just knew I was going to become a dentist; I never really had a second choice."
When it came to his education, Steven knew the University at Buffalo was a safe bet. As an undergraduate student, Steven knew that UB would give him the quality education he needed to get make his boyhood dream a reality.
"I came to Buffalo because I had heard about the reputation of the dental school, even back then in the early 1960s, and I figured I'd improve my chances of getting into the dental school by going undergraduate here. And hey, it worked."
After earning his bachelor's degree in psychology, Steven went on to graduate from UB Dental in '69.
Steven now wants to improve the chances of future dental students at UB. Alongside his wife, Diana Winters-Guttenberg, he has recently increased the Guttenberg bequest commitment to UB Dental from $1 million to $4 million, the largest gift ever to be given to the school.
Steven has not forgotten his humble beginnings, and the hard work it took to be able to give back. As a result, the Guttenbergs will use half of their gift to establish a scholarship fund for students from underrepresented populations.
"I believe in everybody from limited means getting raised up higher. I grew up in a family with fairly limited income. So I would like my money for the most part to go to kids who have the ability, but don't have the funds," he says. "Without UB, I don't think I'd be where I am. I think that the experience I had here was instrumental in propelling me forward."
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