PAUL C.T. LOO / 1931-2007
COURTESY CHAMINADE UNIVERSITY
Paul and Violet Loo attended the August 2005 dedication of a student center named in their honor at Chaminade University.
Exec put his heart in arts and education
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Paul Loo, whose contributions to the Hawaii community cut a broad swath across financial, academic and artistic circles, died Sunday in Edinburgh, Scotland, after a heart attack while on vacation with his family.
Loo, 75, who retired in April from investment firm Morgan Stanley's Honolulu office, was a founding director at Hawaii Pacific University and a regent at Chaminade University. He and his wife, Violet, donated millions of dollars to educational institutions and the performing arts.
"I worked with Paul for 23 years, and I think he's impacted so many lives in such a wonderful way through his dedication to the financial markets and to the education of our youth," said Gwen Pacarro, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley.
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Former Morgan Stanley Executive Director Paul Loo used to attribute his financial success to four things: a long career with one company, staying with one wife, a long life that allowed him to reap the benefits of compound interest, and luck.
"I had some successful friends who just never made 76 and never had the advantage of compound returns and the ability to let that run," Loo said two months ago upon retiring from a 47-year career with investment firm Morgan Stanley's Honolulu office.
Loo, who had been looking forward to spending more time with his family and on his philanthropic endeavors, died Sunday while vacationing in Edinburgh, Scotland. He would have been 76 on July 14.
Gwen Pacarro, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley, said yesterday that Loo had been hospitalized in Scotland after suffering a mild heart attack and died of natural causes surrounded by family members. She said they were preparing to go to London for a barge trip down the Thames River.
"He had a weak heart," she said.
But if his heart was weak physically, it certainly wasn't philanthropically. He and his wife, Violet, donated millions of dollars to educational institutions and the performing arts.
Loo, the last surviving founder of Hawaii Pacific University, had a broad imprint across the community. He was a director at HPU and a regent at Chaminade University, as well as an associate trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his MBA from the Wharton School of Finance. He also was a member of the Hawaii Business Roundtable, the Rotary Club of Metropolitan Honolulu, and the vestry board of St. Clement's Episcopal Church.
He donated just under a million dollars for the soon-to-be-built performing arts center on HPU's Windward Hawaii Loa campus. The Paul and Vi Loo Performing Arts Center will be housed in a new student center. In the interim, the current HPU Theatre was named the Paul and Vi Loo Theatre.
Loo also was the founder of HPU's annual Paul C.T. Loo Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet and received HPU's Fellow of the Pacific Award, the university's highest honor, in 2001.
"The sudden passing of Paul Loo is a profound and devastating loss for the state of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University," HPU President Chatt Wright said.
Loo's wife, Violet, is the daughter of Hong Kong movie mogul Run Run Shaw, one of the richest men in the world.
"Paul is a self-made man and both of them, in a certain way, lived very modestly," Wright said. "They were very understated in how they comported themselves socially."
Wright said Loo's death will be felt beyond Hawaii.
"He was even bigger than Hawaii would appreciate," Wright said. "He knows some of the most important people all over the world. Even though he's a Punahou boy, this story will play throughout the world, especially in Singapore and in Asia. He was very proud of his Chinese ancestry, but even prouder to be an American."
At Chaminade, Loo was instrumental in helping finance the Vi and Paul Loo Student Center that was dedicated in August 2005.
Chaminade President Sue Wesselkamper, calling from Ireland, said Loo's absence will leave a big void at Chaminade.
"It was so unexpected," she said. "He was just so active in the community."
Colleen Blacktin, who worked down the street from Loo as vice president and manager of Charles Schwab, said she was in shock.
"He's such an institution here," she said. "He'll be missed by all the charity work that he did, but I know his wife, Violet, will carry on that work. It's a sad thing that we lost someone who's really been an institution in the investment community."
Loo, who invested much of his wealth in Morgan Stanley's stock, said upon retiring in April that his shares probably had appreciated nine to 10 times in the 47 years that he owned them.
"That's the basis of my community support right now," he said.
Besides helping HPU and Chaminade, Loo said he was planning to help the homeless through the Institute for Human Services (where his wife sits on the board) and work with his parish at St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Makiki to develop a giving program. He said he also wanted to help a health-services organization that he hadn't chosen yet, and do fundraising for the Contemporary Museum.
"I worked with Paul for 23 years, and I think he's impacted so many lives in such a wonderful way through his dedication to the financial markets and to the education of our youth," Pacarro said.
Besides his wife, he is survived by adult children Pam Mayer Loo and Rodney Loo, and five grandchildren.
Services have not yet been arranged.