Jay Shidler, a 1968 graduate of the University of Hawaii business school, did his first commercial real estate deal while a student at UH.
He went on to start more than 30 companies across the U.S. worth billions of dollars, including the Shidler Group.
In 2006 he donated $25 million to the school with the goal of transforming it into one of the top 25 business programs at public universities nationally. The school was renamed the Shidler College of Business.
Shidler, the son of an Army officer, lived here in 1949 and came back to attend UH, bypassing several East Coast universities after graduating from high school in Maryland. He said the experience of going to school in the post-statehood years when Hawaii’s economy was taking off presented a seemingly endless spectrum of possibilities, something that shaped his outlook in business.
While at UH, he worked afternoons for real estate appraiser Philip Won and came across a Maikiki property he believed could be developed. He helped in the development and received a cut of the property when it was built as the 1111 Wilder condominium on the slope of Punchbowl.
Shidler and his wife, Wallette, a Kamehameha Schools graduate, live in Honolulu.