W. P. Carey passes away at age 81

Renowned businessman, philanthropist and benefactor to the W.P. Carey School of Business, William Polk Carey died of natural causes Monday after battling several bouts of illnesses over the last few years.

He was 81.

His donation of $50 million to ASU’s School of Business in 2003 from the W. P. Carey Foundation inspired ASU to rename the school in his honor.

W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr. said Carey’s contribution turned a good business school into a great one.

“He helped to significantly accelerate the reputation of the business school and the university by giving us additional resources that helped us to grow and add new faculty, new programs and a whole variety of things that helped us become better nationally and internationally in what we do,” Mittelstaedt said.

In a statement, ASU President Michael Crow said the ASU family mourns the loss of the benefactor and friend.

"Bill Carey was not only a great business leader and philanthropist, but also a visionary,” Crow said. “Through his generous investment in ASU almost a decade ago, the school that bears his name has become world-class and will continue to educate future business leaders for many generations to come.”

While Carey was not an alumnus, he had strong, historical family ties. In 1886, his grandfather introduced the legislation to create a university that later became ASU.

Many W. P. Carey students said they feel appreciative of Carey’s generous donations to their school.

He had the financial means available to do something positive for students, finance and economics sophomore Chaz Nash said.

“I’m grateful for all that he did for the business school,” he said.

It is not yet known whether ASU plans to hold a memorial service for students to attend, Mittelstaedt said. However, there is a plan to send ASU representatives to the service being held in New York.

Reach the reporter at kmmandev@asu.edu

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