FREDERICK R. WEISMAN Biography - Bussiness people and enterpreneurs


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The late California philanthropist and entrepreneur Frederick R. Weisman             
provided the pivotal gift of $3.5 million that allowed the University of             
Minnesota to build a new art museum. In addition to his monetary gift, Weisman       
also bequeathed a collection of contemporary art worth $1 million. The new           
museum, which bears his name, opened in November 1993; Weisman was able to see       
the museum completed before his death on September 11, 1994.                         
The native of Minneapolis, Weisman moved to Los Angeles at the age of six with       
his mother, Mary, returning to spend summers with his father William. Weisman         
also attended the University of Minnesota for a short time, but cold weather and     
lack of money made him return to California, where he continued his studies at       
Through a series of successful business ventures, Weisman became involved with a     
small canning company, Val-Vita, which later merged with Hunt Brothers Packing       
Company to become Hunts Foods. By age 31, he had become the company's president.     
In the late 1950's, Weisman left Hunt to pursue a number of business ventures         
including mining, banking, racing, and a pharmaceutical company. In 1970, he         
established Mid-Atlantic Toyota, which became the chief component of the             
Frederick Weisman Company.                                                           
As Weisman's business enterprises grew, so did his interest in art. Long             
recognized as one of America's foremost collectors of contemporary art, Weisman       
is an ardent supporter of new and emerging artists. In addition to his gift to       
the University of Minnesota, Weisman contributed a number of gifts totaling over     
$5.5 million to a museum at Pepperdine University, to the New Orleans and the         
San Diego museums of art, and to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. After his     
death, Weisman left a significant portion of his estate to the Frederick R.           
Weisman Foundation, which operates his former home of Carolwood as a private art     
collection. The Foundation's president is Weisman's widow, Billie Milam Weisman,     
a recognized art conservator.