Update: The story has been updated to include funeral arrangements and a statement from University President Mark Schlissel.
A. Alfred Taubman, one of the top donors in the University’s history, passed away Friday night at age 91. His funeral is set for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press.
His death was confirmed in a statement released by his son, Robert S. Taubman, to employees of Taubman Centers, Inc., according to the Detroit News. Robert S. Taubman is the current CEO of the company.
“Tonight, after dinner in his home, a heart attack took him from us, ending what was a full, extraordinary life that touched so many people in so many wonderful ways around the world,” the statement read. “Right now it is difficult for me to express our sadness. One thing that will never be taken from us is Alfred Taubman’s vision that will continue to guide and inspire us.”
Taubman, a Michigan native, built his career in the retail industry developing high-end shopping malls. He attended both the University of Michigan and Lawrence Technological University, but did not graduate from either.
“This company and all that you stand for were among the greatest joys of his life,” the statement read. “Just last month he was in Puerto Rico to celebrate with us the grand opening of The Mall of San Juan. He was so proud of what this wonderful company he founded 65 years ago has accomplished.”
He also donated to multiple other colleges, including Harvard University and Brown University.
In 1999, in his first major gift to the University, the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning was renamed for Taubman after he donated $30 million. The gift was one of the largest ever received by the University at the time
Starting in 2007, he also gave a total of $100 million to start up and fund projects within the Taubman Medical Institute, part of the University’s Medical School. This included initiatives such as a $56 million endowment for research into stem-cell therapy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The institute also supports a group of scholars each year in pursuing individual research objectives.
Last year, Taubman was one of several donors to support an expansion of the Taubman College, pledging $12.5 million of the $28 million cost. The expansion was approved by the University’s Board of Regents last March.
At a 2008 stem cell symposium on campus, he also announced plans to leave $22 million to the University’s Medical School as a bequest after his death.
In a statement, University President Mark Schlissel praised Taubman not only for his philanthropic gifts, but also for the counsel he provided to multiple University presidents over the years.
“Mr. Taubman’s legacy at the University of Michigan will forever reflect his generosity, impact, and passion for advancing opportunities for our campus, its students and the health and well-being of all members of society,” he wrote. “His strong support of the University of Michigan during his life will be further augmented by the provisions he made in his will for the university’s future.”
In a statement to the Detroit News Friday evening, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald called Taubman a “great friend of the University of Michigan.”
Over the course of his career, Taubman faced several controversies, namely allegations of price fixing and misconduct. In his capacity as the former chairman of Sotheby’s auction house, he was convicted of conspiring with rival auction house Christie’s International in 2001 to artificially inflate prices and commissions received by both, serving close to a year in jail.
In response to the conviction, Taubman did not deny the possibility of price fixing, but told the court he wasn’t aware it was taking place.
This is a developing story: stay with michigandaily.com for more.