The University of Maryland mourns the passing of Mr. Wm. Polk Carey, one of the country’s leading philanthropists in education. Mr. Carey died Monday in Florida at the age of 81. The W. P. Carey Foundation’s $30M 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 Mr. 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 UM President Jay Perman. “His gift will help create leaders in the legal profession for generations to come.”
Wm. Polk Carey was the Founder and Chairman of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC (NYSE: WPC), a leading specialized investment banking firm headquartered in New York City, with operations world-wide. He is also Chairman 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 E. "Brit" Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland. “He was deeply committed to Maryland institutions and to developing talented young people into true civic leaders.”
Mr. 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 Chairman 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 Chairman of the Investment Banking Board and Director of Corporate Finance of duPont Glore Forgan Inc.
Mr. Carey founded W. P. Carey & Co. primarily to structure single-asset private investments. Over 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, he holds honorary doctorates from Arizona State University (Doctor of Science), from the City University of New York (Doctor of Commercial Science), and from the University of the South (Doctor of Civil Law). Additionally in 1999, Mr. Carey served as the Executive in Residence at the Harvard Business School.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of Bill’s passing,” said Dean Phoebe Haddon. “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.”