Alfred Taubman, one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, was active in numerous businesses, philanthropic and civic initiatives.


Recognized as a pioneer in America’s retailing and shopping center industries, Mr. Taubman was the founder of Taubman Centers Inc. (NYSE:TCO), one of the nation’s leading real estate developers and operators of upscale regional malls. He was chairman of the Irvine Company from 1977 to 1983, and as chairman of Sotheby’s Holdings from 1983 to 2000 introduced revolutionary customer-focused innovations to the international art market. He also served as a director of Manufacturers Bank of Detroit, Chase Manhattan Bank of New York, United Brands, R.H. Macy Co., and Getty Oil Company.


Mr. Taubman established and funded the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan, the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School, and Brown University’s Public Policy and American Institutions program. He was the principal benefactor of the University of Michigan’s College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Health Care Center, Medical Library, and Biomedical Science Research Building – – each of which bears his name. Mr. Taubman was a major contributor to Lawrence Technological University and its A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center. As a trustee of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, he was the principal benefactor of the school’s A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education. He also provided lead funding for Wayne State University’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights.

Mr. Taubman was president of the City of Detroit Arts Commission and an honorary director of the Detroit Institute of Arts. He was a former trustee of the Whitney Museum of American Art, chairman emeritus of The Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution, a member of the National Board of the Smithsonian Associates, and benefactor of the Taubman Gallery at Mount Vernon. He was an honorary chair of Reading Works, Detroit, and a founding member of Detroit Renaissance, Inc. He chaired the Michigan Partnership for New Education, and was a member of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Michigan Gaming. Mr. Taubman was a governor of the Urban Land Institute Foundation, a founding chairman of the Advisory Board of Wharton’s Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, and served as chairman of the National Realty Committee, Washington, D.C. A major contributor to the Jewish Federation and United Jewish Foundation of Metro Detroit, Mr. Taubman and his late friend Max Fisher provided funding for the Max M. Fisher and A. Alfred Taubman Community Center and Park in Ramla, Israel.


Honors awarded Mr. Taubman include the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan’s 2014 Leonard N. Simmons History Award; the 2012 Goodfellow of the Year Award from the Detroit Newsboys’ Goodfellows Fund; the 2010 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award; Urban Land Institute Lifetime Achievement Award; Museum of Arts and Design Visionaries Award; Detroit Institute of Arts Lifetime Service Award; Sportsman of the Year Award from both the United Foundation of Detroit and the Southeast Michigan Chapter – March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; and Detroit News Michiganian of the Year.

Honorary degrees bestowed upon Mr. Taubman include: Doctor of Laws degree, conferred by the University of Michigan; Doctor of Business, conferred by Eastern Michigan University; Doctor of Architecture, conferred by Lawrence Technological University; Doctor of Education, conferred by Michigan State University; Doctor of Humanities, conferred by Northern Michigan University; Doctor of Fine Arts, conferred by the College for Creative Studies; and Doctor of Public Service, conferred by Ferris State University.

Born in Pontiac, Michigan, Mr. Taubman was a life-long resident of the Detroit area. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and attended the University of Michigan and Lawrence Technological University. He is the author of the best-selling business memoir, Threshold Resistance: The Extraordinary Career of a Retailing Pioneer.

A. Alfred Taubman died on April 17, 2015.