William Polk Carey, chairman and CEO of W.P. Carey & Company Inc. of New York, has pledged $2 million to the university to endow and expand an innovative program preparing undergraduate engineers to manage businesses or to start and run their own companies.
In recognition of the gift, the expanded venture in the university's Whiting School of Engineering will be called the W. P. Carey Programs in Entrepreneurship and Management.
The Whiting School has offered a minor in entrepreneurship and management since the spring semester of 1997; the minor is also available to undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
Carey said he is making the gift because he believes the program provides valuable preparation for entering the business world, both for students whose main academic focus is engineering and for those in the liberal arts.
"To be successful, students need educational training in leadership, management, finance and international issues," said Carey, a trustee of the university. "Expanding the entrepreneurship and management program in the Whiting School will help even more undergraduates to be effective and prosperous in their chosen fields."
Carey said he feels strongly about giving students a head start in the world outside academia. Two years ago, when the Whiting School initiated a two-day Wall Street trip for juniors, Carey hosted a reception in his home for the students to meet alumni working in New York's finance and investment sector. He did the same this year.
"Bill Carey has long been a good friend of Johns Hopkins, giving of his time on our boards and advisory councils and making generous gifts throughout the university's divisions," said President William R. Brody. "Above all, we value his leadership and vision, which are reflected so well in this ambitious program in entrepreneurship and management."
Ilene Busch-Vishniac, dean of the Whiting School, said it is not at all unusual for engineers to take leading roles in the corporate world or to start their own enterprises. Examples include President Brody, who holds three electrical engineering degrees and has co-founded three medical device companies, and Johns Hopkins board chair Michael Bloomberg, a 1964 Hopkins engineering graduate and founder of Bloomberg L.P., one of the world's leading financial news and information companies.
"Research shows that people with engineering degrees are more and more likely to become managers, and a substantial group of Fortune 500 CEOs are engineering graduates," Busch-Vishniac said. "With Mr. Carey's help, we feel well-equipped to prepare our students for the whole spectrum of career choices."
Carey's endowment gift, the dean added, will allow the Whiting School to double the number of entrepreneurship and management offerings and speed up curriculum development by about five years.
More than 300 students are taking classes newly added to the program, such as business law and corporate finance, said John Wierman, chairman of the Mathematical Sciences Department and administrator of the entrepreneurship and management program. Other offerings include business ethics, fundamentals of leadership, the world economy, manufacturing processes and investments and portfolio management.
"There is much more entrepreneurial spirit in today's changing economy," Wierman said. "We need to prepare students to live and work in an environment that fosters innovation within existing companies and promotes the start-up of new ones."
Wierman said the interdisciplinary minor is designed to serve various groups of students, including those who plan to start working in engineering or technical positions and later move into management or start their own businesses, those entering management training programs and those seeking analyst positions at financial institutions and management consulting firms. A number of these will later enter master of business administration programs
A native of Baltimore, William Polk Carey was educated at Princeton and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has received an honorary doctor of science degree from Arizona State University. In 1973, he founded W.P. Carey & Co. Inc., an investment bank which finances commercial, retail and industrial real estate. Carey's great-grandfather, James Carey, was a founding member of the Johns Hopkins board of trustees, and other relatives, Galloway Cheston and Francis King, served as the first chairmen, respectively, of the Johns Hopkins University and and the Johns Hopkins Hospital boards.
Carey's gift will count toward the Johns Hopkins Initiative, the fund-raising campaign for the Johns Hopkins Institutions, and toward the Whiting School of Engineering's $88 million "Designing for Technological Leadership" component of the campaign. The institutions-wide campaign passed its original goal of $900 million in April 1998, nearly two years ahead of schedule. The university trustees voted in May to raise the target to $1.2 billion. So far, more than $1.07 billion has been raised.