The University of Maryland mourns the passing of William Polk Carey, one of the country's leading philanthropists in education. Carey died Monday in Florida at the age of 81.
The W. P. Carey Foundation's $30 million gift last April to the Francis King Carey School of Law is the largest in the University's history. The School was renamed in honor of Carey's grandfather, a graduate of the class of 1880.
"Bill Carey was a champion of education, and had a vision of professional education that focused on both rigorous academic training and a commitment to public service, whatever one's chosen career path," said University of Maryland President Jay A. Perman, MD. "His gift will help create leaders in the legal profession for generations to come."
Carey was the founder and chair of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC (NYSE: WPC), a leading specialized investment banking firm headquartered in New York City, with operations worldwide. He was also chair of the W. P. Carey Foundation.
"Bill Carey's impact on education at all levels in Maryland and across the country was breathtaking. He was a transformative donor to a myriad of organizations across the country, and most especially, here at home at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law," said William "Brit" Kirwan, PhD, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. "He was deeply committed to Maryland institutions and to developing talented young people into true civic leaders."
Carey began his career in international corporate finance in 1959 and brought the first foreign direct investment into Australia in 1960, at age 29. He moved into the net leasing of corporate real estate in 1964 as chair of the executive committee of Hubbard, Westervelt & Mottelay (now Merrill Lynch Hubbard).
Before starting W. P. Carey & Co. in 1973, he served as head of real estate and equipment financing at Loeb, Rhoades & Co. (now part of Lehman Brothers) and vice chair of the investment banking board and director of corporate finance at duPont Glore Forgan Inc.
Carey founded W. P. Carey & Co. primarily to structure single-asset private investments. Over more than 35 years, W. P. Carey & Co. has evolved into the world's largest publicly traded limited liability company and now owns some 850 commercial and industrial properties throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, comprising 100 million square feet of space. Conservatively leveraged for a financial enterprise, the total equity and assets of the W. P. Carey Group are around $5 billion and $9.6 billion, respectively.
Educated at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, Carey held honorary doctorates from Arizona State University (Doctor of Science), the City University of New York (Doctor of Commercial Science), and the University of the South (Doctor of Civil Law). Additionally, in 1999 Carey served as the executive in residence at the Harvard Business School.
"I am deeply saddened to hear of Bill's passing," said Carey School of Law Dean Phoebe A. Haddon, JD, LLM. "When last I saw Bill in December, he shared with me again how terribly proud he was of this law school, our faculty, our students, and all he hoped we would accomplish. I am deeply honored to have known him, and tremendously proud that this law school is part of his legacy."