Charles B. Wang, the founder of computer company CA Technologies whose donation helped fund the Charles B. Wang Center at Stony Brook, died on Sunday.
The 74-year-old spent his final hours surrounded by family in his Oyster Bay home, according to a statement from Wang’s attorney John McEntee. No cause of death was given.
“[Wang] was an entrepreneur, visionary, author, and philanthropist but will be remembered most affectionately by those who knew him for his love of life, family, and friends,” the statement read.
Born in 1944, Wang spent the first eight years of his life in Shanghai, China before immigrating to the United States.
Wang co-founded Computer Associates International (now known as CA Technologies) in 1973 along with Sanjay Kumar and Russell Artzt, and served as chairman until 2000. Under his leadership, CA Technologies became the first software company to reach $1 billion in revenue. Seven years later, the company’s board accused Wang of accounting fraud. Wang denied the board’s claims and was never charged for any of the crimes he was accused of.
In 2000, Wang and Kumar teamed up to buy the New York Islanders hockey team. Wang bought Kumar’s share in 2004 and served as the team’s sole owner until 2014. He made the executive decision to move the team from the Nassau Coliseum to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2015.
Aside from his business ventures, Wang was a well-known philanthropist. He endowed the Charles B. Wang International Foundation in 1998 and founded the nonprofit, Smile Train, the following year to provide free surgeries for children with cleft palate.
A $5 million donation Wang made to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children allowed the organization to build a new headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, which they named after Wang.
In 1996, Wang initially pledged $20-$25 million to build an Asian American cultural center at Stony Brook. At the time, this was the biggest ever donation made to SUNY by an individual. By the time the building opened its doors in October of 2002, Wang said he and his foundation put more than $52 million into the project.
“I am a firm believer in public education and the fact that a public university like Stony Brook is uniquely capable of building cultural connections as it has an incredibly diverse student population,” Wang said in a 2006 interview with The Statesman.“The Wang Center helps support the growing diversity on campus and within the Long Island community while encouraging cross cultural exchange and forging relationships.”
Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. gave the following statement about Wang’s passing in a press release: “Charles’ legacy will live on at Stony Brook University in the iconic and vibrant Charles B. Wang Center, opened in 2002 as an international hub bringing Asians and Americans into a common space, a marketplace of cultural awakenings and ideas for the 21st Century. We have been very fortunate to have had an enormously generous and visionary friend in Charles. I will never forget time spent with him; his poignant remarks at Stony Brook’s 55th Commencement when he joined the class of 2015 as an honorary degree recipient. Stony Brook University will hold his memory in the highest esteem.”
Wang is survived by his wife, Nancy Li, his children, Kimberly, Jasmine and Cameron, his mother, Mary, his brothers, Anthony and Francis, his grandchildren, Charles, Kingsley and Kendall and his nieces and nephew.
His memorial service will be private.