Graduate Real Estate Program A “Game Changer” for Houston

Published on July 5, 2011

Reception Honors Founding Investors of Emerging
Graduate Real Estate Program at UH Bauer

Graduate Real Estate Program Executive Advisory Board Chair Welcome Wilson, right, gives a certificate of appreciation to Transwestern chairman Robert Duncan, who was one of the first in the industry to partner with the program.

The University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business honored some of Houston’s most dynamic real estate industry leaders at a reception in late June for their contribution of time and funding to build the college’s graduate real estate program.

The program has received almost unprecedented enthusiasm and support in its developmental stages, with 24 founding investors contributing over $350,000 in two months to fund its expanded initiatives, including a center that aims to serve as a resource to connect the real estate community with students.

“This is an historic moment, and let me assure you that you will look back on this day and say you were here when the University of Houston Graduate Real Estate Program was founded,” said GSL CEO Welcome W. Wilson, who serves as chair of the program’s executive advisory board.

“This program will be a game changer for the real estate industry in Houston, Texas,” he added.

HOLBA President Brandi McDonald, left, shared her excitement for the growth of the program.

Wilson presented each of the founding investors with a certificate of recognition. As he received his certificate, Transwestern chairman Robert Duncan shared his excitement for the program and reflected on being one of the first corporate partners to interact with the college’s real estate students.

“We knew this would be something great,” he said. “The real thought and cerebral approach to developing something that the industry really wants and needs, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, the pragmatic side of real estate, is something that the industry really welcomes. And the students who came to our conference room were living proof of that.”

Another founding investor, Houston Office Leasing Brokerage Association, Inc. (HOLBA) president Brandi McDonald, also expressed anticipation for the future of the program and seeing tangible results of her involvement.

“I hope that my grandchildren end up with an opportunity to come here and be better educated than I was coming into this industry,” she said. “That’s the whole focus of this program.”

Students in the program, including Bauer MBA Society Real Estate Club member Taucha Hogue (far right), had an opportunity to connect with founding investors during the reception.

In addition to celebrating the founding investors, Wilson and Interim Dean Latha Ramchand took time to recognize John Walsh, the director of the graduate real estate program, as its “founding father.”

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to have someone like John Walsh at Bauer,” Ramchand said. “To have him here at the college and call him a colleague, I am so honored and blessed that he is here with us.”

Walsh has long been a prominent player in Houston’s real estate community, beginning with a successful career with Exxon’s real estate subsidiary, Friendswood Development Co., from the ‘70s to the ‘90s, before switching his career focus to community-based projects — serving as President of the Houston Chamber of Commerce and then moving on to Deputy Chief of Staff for Neighborhoods and Houston for Mayor White’s administration followed by a position as Director of Real Estate and Campus Planning for the University of Houston.

Interim Dean Latha Ramchand, center, and Graduate Real Estate Program Executive Advisory Board Chair Welcome Wilson, right, presented the program’s director, John Walsh, with a proclamation of appreciation for his work building and growing the program.

Walsh’s current role as director of Bauer’s graduate real estate program gives him the opportunity to share his experience with students learning the ropes of the industry.

“We’re fortunate that the University of Houston and Bauer has accommodated the development of this program and invested funds, and we have a very large and diverse crowd of founding investors,” Walsh said.

“To see us come together and create a lasting educational program is perhaps the greatest honor I will ever have,” he added.

For more information about the Graduate Real Estate program, click here.

By Ryan Tang

Posted Under: Graduate

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