In 1896, 32-year-old Anne Galbraith Carey faced a dilemma: where to send her eight-year-old son Frank to school. Baltimore schools were overcrowded, without healthy places for play. She decided that Baltimore needed a school where the “whole boy” would be educated in mind, body and spirit, preparing a young man for college as well as a life of honor and service. Her plan was for a place where boys would live at home and learn in a country setting with vigorous morning studies, a hot meal for lunch, study hall, and afternoon sports.
Carey gained assistance from one of the nation's most prominent educators, Dr. Daniel Coit Gilman, the first president of Johns Hopkins University, and other prominent Baltimoreans of the day. The Country School for Boys opened its doors on September 30, 1897, in the Homewood mansion on the Johns Hopkins campus. Anne Carey single-handedly redecorated and prepared the building.
Mrs. Carey's vision began the country day school movement, a formula imitated by countless schools across America. “We had no idea of being original. Our difficulties were so great, and the solution seemed so obvious, that we thought many people in many places must already have what we wanted—a school in the country near town, with a planned day of work and play, and a well-ordered house which was being lived in by kind and sensible people,” wrote Mrs. Carey in 1926.
In 1910, The Country School moved to its current 68-acre campus in Roland Park and changed its name to The Gilman Country School for Boys. In 1951, "Country" was dropped from the name, and the School became Gilman School.
Today Gilman School is one of the nation’s leading independent schools for boys, a diverse community of more than 1,000 boys in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Students come from all backgrounds and segments of the Greater Baltimore area. Gilman remains committed to the ideals Mrs. Carey instilled more than 120 years ago, and continues to help boys develop in mind, body, and spirit while preparing them for college and a life of honor, leadership, character, and service.
The Carey family has remained connected and close to Baltimore and to Gilman since our school founding. Wm. Polk Carey was a member of the Gilman Board of Trustees from 1981 until his death; Francis J. Carey, Jr. ’43 served as a trustee from 2012 until 2014.
Wm. Polk Carey ’48
Wm. Polk Carey ‘48 will long be regarded at Gilman School as a remarkable man who never forgot what was important to him, a man who built one of the nation’s leading companies without ever abandoning a core set of personal values. With his transformational $10 million gift through the W. P. Carey Foundation toward the $35 million, 17-month renovation of campus centerpiece Carey Hall, Mr. Carey, a longtime Gilman trustee and the grandson of School founder Anne Galbraith Carey, earned the distinction of having made the largest single private gift in Gilman’s history, which still stands today. In total, during their lifetimes, Mr. Carey and his brother gifted more than $15 million to Gilman.
“I have so much confidence in the faculty and staff at Gilman to do the best they can with the resources I have provided,” said Mr. Carey at the time of his gift. “Gilman is the best school of its kind.”
Mr. Carey was born in Baltimore in 1930, the son of Francis J. Carey, a graduate of the Class of 1906, and Mrs. Augustus Orbach. Mr. Carey attended Gilman School for four years, but left at the end of his fourth form year to attend Pomfret School, a boarding school in Connecticut. He continued his education at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
After Princeton and Wharton, he settled in New York, where he would ultimately establish W. P. Carey Inc. (formerly W. P. Carey & Co., Inc.) in 1973. Although Carey’s path led him physically away from his native Baltimore, he always remained deeply connected to Gilman.
Over the years, Mr. Carey, a member of the Gilman Board of Trustees from 1981 until his death, was extremely generous to Gilman.
“Bill Carey was always sensitive to the present and future needs of Gilman,” says Charles C. Fenwick, Jr. ’66, past Board of Trustees president and chairman of the First Things First campaign. “While generous, he always knew what he wanted and made sure that others knew what he wanted and how he felt. Baltimore, and Gilman in particular, are vastly better places because of Bill Carey’s thoughts and efforts.”
His affection for and support of Gilman grew in part from the imprint of his grandmother, Anne Galbraith Carey. Especially close to his grandparents, Mr. Carey recalled in a 2003 interview that his grandmother maintained a very strong interest in Gilman during the days when it wasn’t customary for women to serve on boards of trustees. Mrs. Carey often corresponded with and received visits from E. Boyd Morrow, headmaster from 1926-1943, who would come to ask her advice on various matters. Mr. Carey’s grandfather, Francis K. Carey, served on the Board of Trustees, and Carey remembered that he presented diplomas during graduation exercises.
“My grandmother really was a strong-willed personality,” Mr. Carey said, “but in a nice, gentle way. It’s nice that the School still recognizes her role in its founding.”
“While it is a fact that Gilman would not exist without Bill’s grandmother’s vision, I would argue that Gilman would not be on its continued path of excellence without the exceptional support of Bill Carey,” says Mark Fetting ’72, president of the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Carey, who considered his Gilman classmates some of the best men he knew, credited his own Gilman preparation for providing him a foundation that served him well.
Francis J. Carey, Jr. ’43
Throughout his life, Francis J. Carey, Jr. ’43, a Gilman School Trustee from 2012 until 2014, remained a loyal member of the Class of 1943 and a stalwart supporter of our School.
As President of the W. P. Carey Foundation, Mr. Carey had a direct hand in the transformational gifts he and his brother Wm. Polk Carey ’48 contributed to Gilman. These gifts honor his family’s singular Gilman legacy.
Mr. Carey was a frequent attendee at Class of 1943 events, and he returned to Baltimore to celebrate with Gilman and its boys. On December 10, 2007, he and his brother cut the ribbon when the boys returned to the renovated Carey Hall. The Carey brothers then shook hands with each Upper School student as he first entered the building. Three years later, when Gilman celebrated Carey Hall’s “100th Birthday,” on October 4, 2010, with an enthusiastic convocation, the two were present for a ceremonial cake cutting.
About the W. P. Carey Foundation
The W. P. Carey Foundation is a private U.S. foundation, incorporated in 1990 by William Polk Carey. Inspired by the Carey family’s legacy of educational leadership and philanthropy, the W. P. Carey Foundation’s primary mission is to support educational institutions with the larger goal of improving America’s competitiveness in the world. The main focus of the Foundation is education programs furthering the study of business, economics, and law, as well as to departments of admissions and college and career guidance.