By Victoria Merlino
Charles B. Wang, a billionaire philanthropist who was part owner of the New York Islanders and a CUNY’s Queens College alum, died on Sunday in Oyster Bay, Long Island. He was 74 years old.
Wang co-founded Computer Associates International, now known as CA Technologies, in 1976 with Russell Artzt. The co-founders both attended the Flushing campus and met there. Wang served as chief executive and chairman, helping CA become a prominent corporation and employer on Long Island.
Wang and his eventual business partner Sanjay Kumar purchased the New York Islanders in 2000, after Wang had seen just one game. His reputation at CA was tarnished in November 2002, when federal investigators found that the company was backdating contracts to help meet financial projections.
Investigators forced CA to pay $225 million to its shareholders as restitution and Kumar, who had succeeded Wang as CEO, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Wang was not charged.
Wang continued as majority owner of the Islanders, which left Long Island in 2015 to play in Brooklyn, until 2016. He worked to promote hockey in China and was a driving force of video streaming within the National Hockey League.
Wang also sponsored many philanthropic efforts with his earnings, including putting $52 million toward a cultural center on SUNY’s Stony Brook University campus and founded Smile Train, a charity that provides free surgeries for cleft lips and palates.
Born in Shanghai, China on Aug. 19, 1944, Wang moved to the U.S. with his family when he was eight. He received a math degree from Queens College, and was a computer programmer before he launched CA.
He is survived by his wife, three children, three grandchildren and his mother and two brothers.