By Laura Collins, chief investigative reporter for DailyMail.com
They say blondes have more fun but, as these exclusive pictures show, Dana Blumberg knew how to enjoy herself just fine during her days as a red-headed medical student in Missouri.
Today she is a blonde Manhattanite, esteemed ophthalmologist, and the future Mrs. Robert Kraft with a ten-carat rock on her finger.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Blumberg’s father, Nathan Blumberg, confirmed the engagement and said: ‘She is very happy. I have met [Kraft] many times and he’s a wonderful man.’
‘He treats her like a princess and I’m just very happy they’ve found each other,’ he added.
Dana Blumberg was known among her peers as a ‘super friendly and super fun’ redhead when she was a medical student in Missouri, DailyMail.com can reveal
Billionaire New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, 80, and the New York-based ophthalmologist, 48, were revealed to be engaged last week. It has been reported that Kraft proposed with a huge ring that is estimated to be ’10 carats or more’, with one source comparing it to his Super Bowl rings (one of which Blumberg is seen modeling back in 2017, before they began dating)
At 87 Nathan Blumberg is only six years older than Kraft, who turns 81 in June. But he said he is unconcerned by the 33-year age gap between Kraft and his daughter and described them as, ‘like a couple of young love birds.’
They had been keeping their engagement under wraps until Kraft’s designer friend Tommy Hilfiger, 70, let it slip at the inaugural amfAR Gala Palm Beach event two weeks ago.
Blumberg is one of the top ophthalmologists in the US and she is based at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She is pictured in 2012
Blumberg and Kraft were both chairs of the event of which Hilfiger was honoree.
Blumberg, 48, was first spotted with the Patriots owner – net worth $8.3billion – at an event for the Elton John AIDS foundation back in 2017, but they only started dating in 2019.
It is all a high octane and glamorous world away from Blumberg’s time at St Louis University School of Medicine where, according to one who graduated with Blumberg, ‘every major test deserved a raging party.’
The former student recalled Blumberg as a popular class member who was, ‘super nice, super friendly and super fun.’
Pictured in the class of 2000’s yearbook, Blumberg can be seen smiling and clutching a red solo cup.
Standing alongside friend and fellow medic Layla Ziace, the girls are featured on a page titled, ‘Thank God it’s Friday – Work Hard…Play Harder.’
Yearbook photos obtained by DailyMail.com from St Louis University School of Medicine class of 2000 show Blumberg knew how to enjoy herself during her days as a red-headed medical student
Pictured alongside friend and fellow medic Layla Ziace (left), Blumberg can be seen smiling and clutching a red solo cup
A former student recalled Blumberg as a popular class member who was, ‘super nice, super friendly and super fun’
Elsewhere she can be seen enjoying pitchers of cocktails at popular student haunt, Wild Flower bar and restaurant.
There in the thick of it, amid pages of social events and parties, Blumberg can be seen playfully sticking her tongue out at the camera in one shot and sucking an adult beverage from a baby bottle in another.
The picture bears the caption: ‘Dana works through some childhood issues.’
In one image she cuddles up close to fellow student, Avi Gururaja, leaning into him as they enjoy drinks at the Cat’s Meow, a downtown bar known by the students as simply ‘the Cat,’ that boasts ‘cheap prices’ to this day.
Ten minutes from the university campus the popular bar still caters to the student population, offering ‘the Cat’s Meow Trifecta’ – three shots for $6 – and hosting Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s Day parties.
Blumberg studied at Brown University where she majored in biology and graduated with a BA in 1995 before going onto St Louis.
She graduated from medical school in May 2000, leaving her life of plastic cups and parties behind and moving to Ohio where she completed her residency at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland in 2004.
In another photo published on pages of social events and parties at the university, Blumberg can be seen playfully sucking an adult beverage from a baby bottle
Blumberg poses with fellow medical students in a group photo
Blumberg followed in the footsteps of her father, also a doctor, who confirmed the couple’s engagement to DailyMail.com
After graduating from medical school in May 2000, Blumberg moved to Ohio where she completed her residency at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland in 2004
She finished her fellowship, specializing in glaucoma, at the Wilmer Eye Institute of John Hopkins University and practiced medicine in Baltimore and DC before returning to her hometown of New York.
Across an impressive career she has published numerous research papers, worked as an Assistant Professor at Columbia University and earned a reputation as one of the top ophthalmologists in the country.
Blumberg has earned a reputation as one of the top ophthalmologists in the country
In 2006 she received the Wilmer Eye Institute’s Teaching Award. In 2009 she won an American Glaucoma Society’s Clinician Scientist Award. And in 2013, while with Columbia University Department of Ophthalmology, she was listed in Super Doctors’ list of Rising Stars.
The select honor means that Blumberg was nominated by fellow physicians as a doctor they themselves would choose in seeking medical care.
That same year she won a prestigious grant to fund her research into a glaucoma screening tool called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT).
Speaking at the time Blumberg said: ‘We think of undiagnosed disease as something that happens in developing countries, not right here in the United States.
‘In medical school we’re trained to be clinicians and to think about patients on an individual level, but we’re not taught about population health as a whole.’
She was previously working on screening strategies for disease detection, which could help to reduce vision loss caused by glaucoma. She is pictured in 2021 with Kraft
Going public: Kraft was spotted holding hands with Blumberg at the French Open in June 2019
Kraft was married to Myra Hiatt (left) from 1963 until her death from cancer in 2011. The couple share four sons, at least one of whom is older than Dr Blumberg. He later dated actress Ricki Noel Lander (right) now 42, for six years from 2012
Back then Columbia posted about their pride in Blumberg, but her bio has since been taken down from the website.
Blumberg has not been married before.
For his part, Kraft was married to childhood sweetheart Myra for 48 years before her death from ovarian cancer in July 2011. She was just 68 years old.
One year later Kraft began dating actress Ricki Lander. The couple split in 2018.
When DailyMail.com reached out to Lander her father answered the call and described his daughter as ‘a very private person’ who ‘had no desire to comment.’
Blumberg’s delighted father told DailyMail.com that the couple have yet to set a date for the wedding.