William Polk Carey, one of the nation's most prominent real estate investors and the major donor behind the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, passed away on Monday at the age of 81.

The New York-based banker, founder and chairman of W. P. Carey & Co. LLC donated $50 million from his educational and philanthropic W. P. Carey Foundation to ASU in 2003.

In recognition of his extraordinary support, ASU renamed the university's business school in his honor, and the gift has been instrumental in helping the W. P. Carey School to become one of the world's top business schools. U.S. News & World Report, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times all now rank W. P. Carey School programs among the Top 30 nationwide.

At the time, Carey's generous donation was the second-largest gift ever to a U.S. business school. Carey's family has deep connections to Arizona State University. His grandfather introduced legislation that created the university in 1886. Carey also had an honorary Doctor of Science degree from ASU.

Carey was a smart businessman who pioneered a way for smaller investors to participate in large real estate projects with consistent top-tier returns.

Carey had an incredible 60-plus-year career in the finance industry and will be remembered as a visionary leader with fierce loyalty and abundant generosity.

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