Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sad News: Bill Davidson Passes away at 86

Some readers of this blog may be familiar with Bill Davidson and others may not. Bill was an extremely successful businessman, generous philanthropist, and loving family man. He is one of the main reasons I came to the University of Michigan.

Most people know Bill as the long-time owner of the Detroit Pistons, one of the most successful professional sports franchises ever. Bill was the majority owner of Palace Sports and Entertainment, which includes the Piston's The Palace of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Shock (Women's National Basketball Association) and DTE Music Theater, a world-class entertainment venue, as well as management of Meadow Brook Music Theatre. Less well known was that he built Guardian Industries into one of the world's leading industrial companies -- a truly global leader in float glass and fabricated glass products.

Bill was also extremely generous with the wealth he created. He was one of the country's most notable philanthropists, responsible for more than $200 million in donations to local and international charities and universities.
Organizations and municipalities that have benefited from his generosity include:
- The Detroit Symphony Orchestra,
- The Jewish Theological Seminary of America,
- The University of Michigan,
- Technion-Israel Institute of Technology,
- The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovet, Israel,
- The Karmanos Cancer Institute, and
- Children’s Research Center of Michigan,
- The city of Detroit’s Parks and Recreation Department,
- Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem and countless others, and
- The William Davidson Institute at UM, which I have the privilege to run.

Here are several write-ups on this amazing man:

From the Davidson Institute's website: story
From the Detroit Free Press: story
A great slide show from the Free Press: photos
From the Detroit News: story
From the Piston's website: story

Mr. Davidson was a great man to work for and I'm happy to have had the chance to know him. He lived a full and successful life. He'll be missed greatly.

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