CLEARWATER, Fla. (FOX 13) - A new university campus will soon welcome students in the Bay Area.
It began as a simple dinner conversation, according to Nova Southeastern University president Dr. George Hanbury.
"He said, 'I guess you saw I bought the old Clearwater Christian site.' And I said, 'What are you going to do with it?' He said, 'Well, I'm going to build my own college of osteopathic medicine,'” Hanbury recalled.
Three years and $200 million later, it’s become a reality.
"He's done exactly, exactly that,” Hanbury said.
The Dr. Kiran Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine will welcome students from Nova Southeastern University come July.
Patel, who has been in the Tampa Bay area since 1982, says building it here was a no-brainer.
"This is where I had my success, so I felt good that I could give back to the area that gave me something," Patel said.
The college is expected to have a half-a-billion dollar impact on the area. NSU’s president says the education opportunities will be the lasting influence.
"Those individuals in Tampa Bay to be able to aspire to see their dreams come to fruition academically without leaving the area,” Hanbury said.
Patel is a cardiologist turned businessman, who in 1992 took over a health insurance company on the verge of bankruptcy. His philanthropy has stayed in the Tampa area ever since.
"I have been fortunate enough to create an impact,” Patel said. “If you're going to educate somebody, you have saved them for life, and generations after are going to benefit."
Students studying everything from psychology to anesthesiology will learn inside simulator-style classrooms starting this summer.