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NEW YORK -- Warren Alpert, a veteran in the petroleum distributing and convenience store industry, passed away at 86 on Saturday. Alpert was the founder and chairman of Warren Equities, Inc., holding company for Drake Petroleum Co., a petroleum distributor and operator of Xtra Mart convenience stores in New England, the New York Sun reported.
Alpert recently made headlines in January after donating $100 million to Brown University, which will name its medical school after Alpert, the report stated.
Alpert was born in 1920 and raised in Chelsea, Mass. After graduating from Boston University in 1942, Alpert joined the U.S. Army. After returning from World War II, he worked for Standard Oil of California, then began a small gasoline distributorship in Providence, R.I. in 1950. The distributorship grew to port facilities and gas stations, eventually evolving into a merchandise distributorship, an underground tank testing service, and convenience stores.
His business remained private and never took on long term debt because of the eventual payback. He even answered phones himself, the report stated.
Alpert became interested in medical and education philanthropy in the 1980s and gave money to his alma maters, Boston University and Harvard University, the report stated. In 1993, he donated $20 million to Harvard Medical School; at the time, it was the largest gift the school had ever received.
In 1987 his foundation began awarding an annual Warren Alpert Prize for medical advances. Last year's award amount totaled $150,000.
"I really don't want to make my relatives rich," Alpert told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in 1993. "I want to do something for society, and I intend to do it. It's me. I made it, and I intend to spend it and do it my way."