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UM law school gets $30M from W.P. Carey

The $30 million buzzword floating around the University of Maryland School of Law on Monday was “transformative.” News of the W.P. Carey Foundation’s record gift made an immediate impact — the school has officially changed its name to the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

But William Polk Carey, the foundation’s namesake and Francis Carey’s grandson, took a longer view during a ceremony formally announcing the donation.

“Hopefully this gift gives you the support you need to make this the greatest law school in the world,” the Baltimore native told a standing-room-only crowd of VIPs and students gathered in the law school’s lobby and balconies overlooking the atrium.

The gift is the largest donation in the law school’s history and one of the largest ever in legal education. Dean Phoebe A. Haddon said after the ceremony the donation will be spread out over 10 years beginning in December. The money will go toward recruiting and retaining faculty, supporting the law school’s clinical programs and developing and strengthening the school’s curriculum.

University System of Maryland Chancellor William E. “Brit” Kirwan specifically pointed out some of the money will go directly to the school’s business law program. Robert Rhee, a co-director of the program, said the donation will help with research and make connections with business schools — like Carey Business School at the Johns Hopkins University, which received a $50 million gift from the Carey Foundation in 2006.

“It will help us provide an interdisciplinary program to train future business leaders,” Rhee said.

Current business leaders, including David Cordish, attended Monday’s announcement, along with other prominent law school alumni. Everyone wore yellow “Carey Forward” buttons. One alumnus, Gov. Martin O’Malley, gave the 80-year-old Carey a proclamation hailing a lifetime of philanthropic efforts. Another, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, thanked Carey and his older brother, Francis, for investing in Baltimore.

“I don’t know if I’m happier as mayor as an alum,” she said.

It was another alum, however, who first discussed the donation with Carey. Former U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings said he has been “working on” his old friend for a decade now.

“He has a great love for Baltimore and realizes the University of Maryland is an economic engine,” Tydings said following the ceremony.

Haddon said she began talking with Carey in the fall, and that it was a much smaller donation at the onset, but Tydings “encouraged us to think big.”

“You have our solemn pledge to be good stewards of your gift,” she said during the ceremony.

Carey’s namesake company, W.P. Carey & Co. LLC, owns more than 850 business and industrial properties around the world. But the Carey family history runs deepest in Baltimore. Carey’s great-grandfather, James, was the first president of Provident Savings Bank, and his great-great-great-grandfather served as president of the Baltimore City Council in 1815. His grandmother, Anne Galbraith Carey, founded the Gilman School in 1896.

Francis King Carey graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1880. He would later form a law firm with James Piper and J. Bannister Hall Jr.; Carey, Piper and Hall morphed over time into what is now DLA Piper.

William Carey spoke reverentially of his grandfather and took particular delight in seeing his grandfather’s name listed as a graduate among framed pages of the law school’s 1880 catalog Haddon presented to him as a gift.

“Francis King Carey was a man of incomparable ethics. He was such a great example,” he said. “As this school goes forward, he’s up there watching you.”


  1. sylvan finkelstein


  2. Personally and as a alumnus, I’m disgusted that the name is being sold off for a price, even a really nice one. I guess I can cut back on my own giving, not that it is noticeable next to the generosity of the Carey family.