The simple sugar beet forms the basis of a profound example of the mission and philosophy of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and its benefactor, the late William P. Carey, philanthropist and founder of W. P. Carey & Co., a real estate financing firm headquartered in New York City.
It’s a metaphor for humanity and responsibility that goes back 70 years. In the 1940s and 1950s, farmers in Colorado and Kansas grew sugar beets for the National Sugar Manufacturing Company. Carey’s family had been a minority stockholder in the company for decades. By 1966, due to global price wars, the company was forced to liquidate, leaving the farmers to absorb their losses.
At the time, a young Carey, whose $50 million gift would enable establishment of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in 2007, was not in a financial position to aid the farmers, but he never forgot their plight. Although not legally responsible for the debts, he pledged to make the situation whole.
Twenty years later, after contacting every one of the 80 farming families involved, Carey repaid the $250,000 debt in full. Responsibility. Integrity. Dedication. Humanity. These are the cornerstones of “Beet Week” as embodied by the actions of our benefactor and the mission of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.