WP Carey, Education Philanthropist, Dies

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

William Polk Carey, who made a fortune in real-estate finance and donated tens of millions of dollars to improve U.S. business schools, has died. He was 81.

He died yesterday at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, his firm, W.P. Carey & Co., said in a statement. The cause was complications following a heart attack, according to Cheryl Perry, a spokeswoman for the company. A resident of New York City, he was in Florida for the holidays.

The firm founded by Carey in 1973 provides sale-leaseback and other forms of real-estate financing and manages a global investment portfolio of about $11.8 billion, according to its website. Based in New York, it owns almost 1,000 commercial and industrial properties in North America, Europe and Asia, totaling about 120 million square feet, including part of the New York Times Building in Manhattan.

“Bill was unwavering in his devotion to our shareholders, and he was especially proud that we have been able to provide increasing income to them, while providing our tenant companies with the capital that allowed them to grow their business and prosper,” Chief Executive Officer Trevor P. Bond said in the statement.

In 1988, Carey established the W.P. Carey (WPC) Foundation as the vehicle for his philanthropy. Its major gifts include $50 million in 2002 to Arizona State University, which renamed its business school the W.P. Carey School of Business; $50 million in 2006 to Johns Hopkins University to create the Carey School of Business; and, last April, $30 million to the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, which he hoped would lead to a joint law-business degree offered by Maryland and Johns Hopkins.

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