Skip to main content

W. P. Carey Foundation's gift to boost ASU business school's mission

$25 million donation to expand career services, establish endowed chairs

w. p. carey
January 08, 2019

A new donation to the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University will establish two research chairs and expand career services for students.

The W. P. Carey Foundation will direct at least $15 million to enhancing the number and quality of career resources for nearly 16,000 current students, and $10 million to recruiting prominent professors and researchers as endowed academic chairs.

In addition, the W. P. Carey Foundation is partnering with the ASU Foundation in launching a giving campaign to raise an additional $25 million, bringing the total in new funding to the business school to $50 million.

The gift, announced today, adds to the $50 million that the W. P. Carey Foundation donated to the school 15 years ago.

Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School, said the foundation’s investment has driven success at the school.

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

“For the past 15 years, we have been able to reach heights that simply could not have been possible without belief in what we do and support along the way from the foundation and our many other generous benefactors,” she said.

“This new investment reaffirms our stewardship of their previous gift and provides us what is required to innovate and enhance our standing in an evolving business and economic environment.”

The $15 million donation will boost the assistance the school provides to undergraduate and master’s degree students to acquire the skills and opportunities needed to succeed after graduation. The W. P. Carey Career Services Center will use the additional funding to increase job-placement rates for graduates, elevate starting salaries, develop new relationships with industry-leading recruiting partners and enhance lifelong learning for alumni. The school will also significantly grow the numbers of mentees and mentors, recognizing the increasingly important role mentorship plays in education and career development.

The two new endowed professorships, called Carey Chairs, will draw prominent professors who are outstanding teachers and researchers, and who are recognized as leaders in their fields.

The W. P. Carey Career Services Center works with undergraduate and graduate students, alumni and employers, according to Jessie Heidemann, the director.

“Since our last gift from the W. P. Carey Foundation, our school has doubled in size in students and in the number of employers we work with,” she said.

“We know business schools are so competitive, and we’re so excited to have this gift because it will allow us to better meet the needs of our students and our employers and provide better outcomes.”

Heidemann said the career coaches provide a full range of services.

“It’s everything from ‘What am I going to do with this major?’ to resume critiques, prepping for career-fair interviews, talking about what internships are like — all the way to salary negotiations,” she said.

“We also coach alumni. They might come back after a year or three years or 10 or even 30 and say, ‘I’m a career changer, and I need some help here.’”

Working with employers is a crucial part of what the center does, Heidemann said.

“We’ll talk to a startup that needs one student for an internship or to an employer who needs to hire 150 students who are graduating,” she said.

With a better economy, students have more options, so the center works with employers to better market their openings.

“It’s not just posting a job — it’s strategizing creative ways of engaging with students,” she said. “It’s looking at the job description to make sure it’s effective and marketable, getting involved with career fairs, engaging with student organizations and connecting with coffee chats.”

ASU President Michael Crow said the gift reinforces the foundation’s commitment to the university.

“The foundation’s support over the years has resulted in ASU having one of the top-rated and most highly sought-after business schools in the country,” he said. “I am grateful to the foundation for its support of our university, faculty and most importantly our students — who will be the primary benefactors of its generosity.”

The new gift has a legacy that goes back to the beginning of ASU. The foundation is named for businessman William Polk Carey, who founded the W. P. Carey Co. investment firm. Carey’s grandfather was John Samuel Armstrong, whose legislation launched Tempe Normal School, the precursor to ASU, in 1885.

In 1988, the W. P. Carey Foundation was formed to benefit education, and its $50 million gift to the ASU business school in 2003 was the second-largest private donation to an American business school at the time.

William P. Carey II, chairman of the W. P. Carey Foundation, said the donation honors the legacies of the Armstrong and Carey families.

“I am proud we can continue to honor all of their memories by providing additional support for the next generation of leaders to graduate from ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business,” he said.

“There is no better time to invest in the business school, and we look forward to other individuals and foundations partnering with ASU to build an even better future by attracting preeminent faculty while offering students the best possible career opportunities.”

The donation is the largest gift to date for the business school as part of Campaign ASU 2020.

“We look at this investment as something that will benefit us not only in 2019 and 2020 but also serve as the launchpad for thousands of careers in the future,” Hillman said.

“We have 22,000 first-generation college students at ASU. This level of support will advance all of our students, but one thing that stands out — and something we believe will resonate with other donors during our fundraising campaign — is how world-class career services at a top business school will bring new possibilities to first-generation students.”

Since taking its benefactor’s name, the W. P. Carey School of Business has become one of the world’s top business schools, with 20 programs and disciplines currently ranked in the top 30 by U.S. News & World Report. Among the nation’s top full-time MBA programs, ASU leads Ohio State, Penn State and the University of Notre Dame, while ASU’s part-time MBA program ranks above the University of Florida, Boston University and Texas A&M. On a global scale, The Financial Times ranks the W. P. Carey School’s Executive MBA in Shanghai among the top 30 worldwide.

Top photo: Career coach Elizabeth Tirkas shakes hands with computer information systems and business data analytics junior Austin Dang after talking about internships at the W.P. Carey School of Business Career Services center on Jan. 7, 2019. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

More Business and entrepreneurship


Photo of a group of people, some of whom hold large novelty-sized checks.

Thunderbird’s annual Pitch Competition fosters entrepreneurialism

The A. Masrin Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University is leading the way in preparing students for modern…

Models in colorful clothing pose in an outdoor setting.

Design student turns passion into a prize-winning fashion line

Thanks to her success in combining a passion for fashion with industrial design expertise, graduate student Uzoma Ndulue recently emerged as one of the three large-prize winners at the biannual Demo…

A line of graduates among different flags

Thunderbird at ASU ranked No. 1 by QS International Trade Rankings for second consecutive year

The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University has secured its position as the world leader in international trade for the second consecutive year, as declared by…