Although he wasn’t first in his class at Wharton, real estate developer William L. Mack, W’61, has certainly earned his place among the School’s outstanding global leaders. And on October 22 at the Fall Combined Boards Meeting, Mack received the School’s highest accolade—the Dean’s Medal, bestowed for extraordinary achievement or service to society by an individual.

Accepting the award, Mack joked that he would tell his mother he had “finally made the Dean’s List.”

Mack, founder and chairman of AREA Property Partners (formerly known as Apollo Real Estate Advisors, L.P.), was honored for his leadership in business as well as his commitment to education and the community. The successful and generous Mack, said Penn President Amy Gutmann, is an “incredible model for how you can do great business and do great good in the world.”

In addition to heading up AREA, a global real estate investment group that has invested in 25 different countries worldwide, Mack also serves as Senior Partner of the Mack Organization and non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mack-Cali Realty Corporation. During the course of his four decades-long career, Mack has had a “strong hand in shaping the real estate industry as we know it today,” said Wharton Dean Thomas S. Robertson, the Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise. A noted philanthropist and civic leader, Mack has made it a point to share his keen business insight through his service on a host of boards. He is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and vice chairman of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, the University of  Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees and Wharton’s Board of Overseers.

Also lauded was Mack’s ability to forge connections—from business and technology to commerce and culture. He has been a driving force behind the creation and success of Wharton’s William and Phyllis Mack Center for Technological Innovation, a pioneering research center that crosses disciplines and schools at the University. He has also been instrumental in the development of the Guggenheim’s latest—and historic—project: the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum. Robertson commended Mack for promoting “economic development and social advancement.”

Saying it was both an “honor and a privilege” to receive the award, Mack shared an experience from a recent trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and China, which he said reinforced his belief that “education, economic opportunity and economic prosperity are key to creating a more open society, better human rights and less world turmoil.”

Mack joins an impressive roster of Dean’s Medal honorees, which includes Nobel Peace Prize winners, heads of state and chief executives of global corporations.