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School of Business welcomes art donation

January 23, 2009

Drivers on two of the Phoenix area’s most traveled highways are going to see a rare sight on Saturday as a 10,000-pound statue makes its way from Scottsdale to the W. P. Carey School of Business in Tempe on the back of a flatbed truck.

The $1.3 million statue called “Spirit” is well known because it was once located outside the Fleischer Museum in Scottsdale and appeared on the cover of a local Chamber of Commerce publication for many years. Local entrepreneur Morton Fleischer and his wife, Donna, an Arizona State University graduate, are donating the bronze statue to the W. P. Carey School of Business in hopes it will inspire students about enterprise, philosophy and art.

The 14-foot-tall, 20-foot-long statue by sculptor Buck McCain depicts five larger-than-life horses rising out of the earth. The artist’s Web site describes it as “a symbol of democratic capitalism at its best.” Several plaques with inspirational messages by Fleischer about America, freedom and achievement will be placed at the statue’s new site.

“We believe an appropriate location for ‘Spirit’ is near the W. P. Carey School of Business since the statue artistically represents what American entrepreneurs and business people have been able to accomplish within America’s vibrant framework,” says Fleischer, who, along with valued associates, built Franchise Finance Corporation of America and Spirit Finance Corporation into successful New York Stock Exchange-listed enterprises for more than 25 years and then sold them. “’Spirit’ symbolizes the power of political and economic freedom that makes this country great. This statue deserves to be in a place where it can help educate young people about the boundless opportunities and achievements America and freedom provide us.”

Fleischer, an acquaintance of Wm. Polk Carey, the New York banker for whom the W. P. Carey School of Business is named, is also donating the transportation and installation costs for the statue’s move. “Spirit” will travel from the Fleischers’ ranch, along Loops 101 and 202, on the back of a truck. A crane will be used to move the massive statue into place at the school.

W. P. Carey School of Business Dean Robert E. Mittelstaedt says, “We greatly appreciate the generous donation of Mort and Donna Fleischer. We hope this art outside the school will help inspire our students with the same enterprising messages we deliver inside the classrooms.”