Lawrence A. Wien
A NEW YORK LAWYER AND REAL ESTATE INVESTOR, Lawrence A. Wien enjoyed a career of imaginative professional leadership and creative philanthropy. The founder and senior partner for 60 years of the firm of Wien & Malkin, he was a 1925 graduate of Columbia College and a 1927 graduate of Columbia Law School. In addition to serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees of Brandeis University and as president and chairman of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, vice chairman of the Institute of International Education, WNET/Channel 13, the UN Association of the USA, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, he also served as an alumni Trustee of Columbia University and was a mayoral appointee to the New York City Commission against poverty. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws from Columbia in 1974.
Mr. Wien is widely recognized as the pioneer who made possible investment by individuals in real estate through creating the first public real estate syndication. His holdings encompassed 20 million square feet of office buildings, including the Empire State Building, the Equitable Building, the Graybar Building, the Fisk Building, and the Lincoln Building, as well as properties nationwide.
Mr. Wien was an ardent supporter of education, the arts, and nonprofit institutions. Believing that corporate philanthropy benefited both the public and the corporation, he championed the cause of charitable giving throughout the corporate world. He endowed several funds at Columbia Law School: the Lawrence A. Wien National Scholarships Program in 1959, which in its 59-year history has provided vital annual support to more than 500 J.D. students who hail from each one of the 11 federal judicial circuits and Washington, D.C.; the Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility in 1982, which recognized individuals and corporations for their efforts on behalf of the public good; and the Lawrence A. Wien Chair in Real Estate Law in 1974, held by Columbia professors who are leading scholars in their field.
In addition, on the 40th anniversary of the endowment of the Wien National Scholarships, the Wien Scholars program was endowed in honor of Mr. Wien by three Law School alumni from the Class of 1967, Peter C. Canellos, George A. Davidson, and Gary P. Naftalis, who themselves had received Wien scholarships. This fund provides support annually to students in need.
Mr. Wien’s generosity, exemplified by his gifts that enabled Columbia University to improve its programs and facilities, are further evidence of his love for his alma mater. With the addition of the Lawrence A. Wien Stadium and soccer field at Baker Field athletic complex, state-of-the-art student housing in the beautifully renovated Wien Hall, and enhancement of the already imposing Butler Library Main Reading Room, Mr. Wien has left an extraordinary and lasting mark on the University’s history.