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50 Years of Excellence

May 21, 2015 By Claire Hall

Gala Evening Celebrates Accomplishments of UConn’s Prestigious Real Estate Program

Some 300 people—from real estate legends to revered faculty to soon-to-be graduates—filled the Rome Ballroom on the Storrs campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies.

The tight-knit commercial real estate community came out to laude the program’s accomplishments, honor those who have shaped its success, reminisce about the growth of the program over the decades, and to look enthusiastically toward the future.

The UConn Real Estate program has long been regarded as one of the best in the country. Director John Glascock announced that the program’s Advisory Council has secured $2 million in endowed funds for the program during the last four years. At the dinner it was announced that an endowed scholar position would be created in honor of William Kinnard, the first director of the Center. Long-time Professor John Clapp will be named as The William N. Kinnard Research Scholar. The Real Estate program has ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News and World Report for at least the last 15 years, and it is the top university for real estate research in the country.

John Elliott, dean of the School of Business, said the tight bonds which tie the UConn academic community and the commercial real estate practitioners throughout the Northeast and beyond, enhance the offerings of the program.

“This program was created by the real estate community and has thrived with the help of UConn friends and colleagues,” he said. He noted, for example, that senior management at the prestigious Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers teach a senior-level course, allowing students access to immediate, real-life scenarios. He said the course is immensely popular and remarkably successful.

Katherine Pancak, a professor of real estate and finance, opened the April 30 program by describing the economic and development status of Connecticut when the program began. Then, the Hartford skyline had only a few tall buildings, the average home cost $23,000, there was no UConn Women’s Basketball Team, and tuition, room and board at UConn was $1,000 for a year.

When the commercial real estate program began 50 years ago, it prepared students for careers in real estate appraisal and valuation. About 25 years ago, it shifted to include institutional real estate investing, property and asset management, and investment acquisition and disposition.

“We place a lot of students in the big firms in Hartford, New York and Boston,” Clapp said. “We have more employers looking for students than we have students. Even during the recession, all of our students found jobs. The internship program has been a huge success as well.

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