Lorry I. Lokey

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Lorry I. Lokey
Born(1927-03-27)March 27, 1927
DiedOctober 1, 2022(2022-10-01) (aged 95)
EducationStanford University
TitleChairman & CEO, Business Wire

Lorry I. Lokey (March 27, 1927 – October 1, 2022) was an American businessperson and philanthropist. A native of Portland, Oregon, he founded the company Business Wire in 1961 and donated in excess of $700 million to charities, with the majority of the money given to schools. He resided in San Francisco during his later years.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lorry Lokey was born on March 27, 1927, in Portland, Oregon, and raised in the Northeast Portland neighborhood of Alameda during the Depression.[2] His Jewish family[3][4] practiced charity, setting the example for Lokey.[2] He attended Alameda Elementary School in Portland,[1][5][6] then graduated from Grant High School before being drafted[7] into the United States Army, then deployed to Japan during the final months of World War II.[7][8] While in the service he worked on the Pacific Stars & Stripes as an editor after the war ended.[8]

Lokey resumed college in 1947, having been drafted into the army in 1944, following his freshman year,[7] graduating from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism.[9] At Stanford, he worked on The Stanford Daily, becoming editor of the school newspaper in 1949.[7] Upon graduation Lokey began working for United Press, now United Press International (UPI), and then at newspapers and in the public relations field.[9] One newspaper he worked for was The Daily News in Longview, Washington.[8]

Business career[edit]

Inspired by the sight of a teletype machine transferring financial news during a conference in Los Angeles,[10] Lokey started Business Wire, a news release service, in 1961.[6] Founded in San Francisco, California, the company started with seven clients on the first day of business.[11] The company expanded and became an international wire service with 30 offices around the world.[6] By 2003, the company had grown to 450 employees with annual revenue of $110 million.[11] In 2006, Lokey sold Business Wire for approximately $600 million to Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett's corporation.[6]


Lokey began donating large sums of money to charities in 1990. By 2007, he had donated more than $400 million, of which 98 percent was given to secondary and post-secondary education.[6] Some schools include the University of Oregon, Mills College, Stanford University, the Technion,[12] Santa Clara University, Bellarmine College Preparatory, and Portland State University.[1][9][13][14] These efforts led to his listing as one of the ten highest donors in the United States by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in 2006.[6] He was also an early signer of The Giving Pledge.[15] During his lifetime, Lokey donated over 90% of his fortune,[2] exceeding US$700 million.[16] He was the University of Oregon's 2017-2018 honorary degree recipient.[17]

In 2018, he donated $10 million to the University of Haifa for the construction of a new building in downtown Haifa, Israel.[18]

As of June 2014, Lokey had also donated a total of $139.9 million to the University of Oregon in Eugene.[19] This includes a $74.5 million donation in 2007 that was the second most ever given to the school, and the largest donation designated for academics.[6] The 2007 donation went towards the creation of the Lorry I. Lokey Science Advancement and Graduate Education Initiative.[6]

In October 2008, the Stanford School of Medicine announced that Lokey would donate $75 million for a research facility.[20] The facility is named the Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building.[20] He also donated money to establish a new chemistry building at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Lokey had three daughters. He died in Atherton, California, on October 1, 2022, at age 95.[22][10]


  1. ^ a b c "Portland native pledges $5M for library". Portland Business Journal, May 29, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c A Philanthropist at Heart Christine Foster; Stanford Magazine; December 2022.
  3. ^ jweekly.com: "Local wealthy Jews pledge to give away half their fortunes" by Jacob Berkman August 12, 2010
  4. ^ JTA: "Lorry Lokey on giving it all away", Jacob Berkman Archived June 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine August 9, 2010
  5. ^ [1] [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Lokey gives UO largest gift: $74.5M". Portland Business Journal, October 15, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d Lorry Lokey, Atherton philanthropist and Business Wire founder, dies (Emily Mibach) Palo Alto Daily Post, October 3, 2022
  8. ^ a b c McBride, Tess. "The man behind the money". Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Oregon Daily Emerald, February 9, 2007.
  9. ^ a b c "Lorry Lokey gives Stanford stem cell institute $33M". San Jose Business Journal, February 27, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Ward Leslie, Melody. "Remembering Lorry Lokey". University of Oregon. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  11. ^ a b Caldwell, Douglas E. "Profile: Spreading the word". San Jose Business Journal, July 4, 2003.
  12. ^ "Businessman Donates His Millions To Educational Projects". The Forward. November 11, 2006. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  13. ^ "Lorry Lokey donates $1.5M to Judaic Studies at PSU". Portland Business Journal, August 28, 2007.
  14. ^ Duxbury, Sarah. "Mills College goes to B-school". San Francisco Business Times, April 4, 2008.
  15. ^ Portland-born entrepreneur Lorry Lokey, benefactor to many colleges, gives Lewis & Clark $2 million to honor top profs Oregon Live
  16. ^ Lorry Lokey on giving it all away (Jacob Berkman) Cleveland Jewish News; August 12, 2010.
  17. ^ "Lorry I. Lokey | Office of the President". president.uoregon.edu. Retrieved May 7, 2024.
  18. ^ "How a US philanthropist aims to revitalize Haifa". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. May 31, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  19. ^ "UO sciences benefit from latest gift from Lorry Lokey". University of Oregon. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  20. ^ a b [2] [permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "Cornerstone-Laying Ceremony held for the Lorry I. Lokey Chemistry Building". Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. May 20, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2022.
  22. ^ "Lorry I. Lokey, alum and philanthropist who transformed Stanford, dies at 95". Stanford University. October 7, 2022. Retrieved October 7, 2022.