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U-M Receives $10M Gift From Michigan Ross Alum to Fund New Real Estate Center at the Business School


Thanks to a $10 million gift from University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser, BBA ‘66, the Ross School of Business will launch a comprehensive real estate center that offers a suite of practice-oriented courses focused at the intersection of business and real estate.

Announced at the U-M Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 20, the new Weiser Center for Real Estate will serve as a center of excellence where students can learn from seasoned real estate professionals, apply their knowledge in practice, and prepare for the increasingly complex field of real estate business. The center will collaborate closely with schools across the U-M campus, such as the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. 

"The Weiser Center for Real Estate will transform the real estate offerings at Ross and the university by providing students with practical training, supporting applied research and thought leadership, and serving as a catalyst for interdisciplinary collaboration at Michigan and beyond," said Scott DeRue, the Edward J. Frey Dean at Michigan Ross. 

"Students will gain the knowledge, skills and connections they need to launch successful careers in real estate. Students will also learn how real estate plays an important role in all types of business, and how understanding the principles of real estate is essential for managing global and distributed organizations. The center's engagement with industry professionals and companies will elevate our reputation as a leading center of excellence in this exciting field." 

The new center at Michigan Ross will offer undergraduate and graduate courses on real estate finance, real estate law, real estate investing, asset and property management, sustainable development, and more. There also will be opportunities to work directly with real estate firms in programs, including through Multidisciplinary Action Projects and other action-based learning experiences. In addition, the center will enable Ross, in coordination with the Taubman College, to further develop U-M's current real estate certificate program and introduce a new undergraduate minor in real estate. 

Another key aspect of the center will be a new Weiser Scholars Fellowship, through which up to six students will be accepted annually for student support and fellowship activities. Additional scholarships and paid internships also will be available.

Within the first two years, the center will support an initial cohort of faculty who will serve as professors of practice. The center also will have a professional-in-residence program with real estate experts who will offer professional development workshops, mentorship, career coaching, and more.  

"I look forward to the center becoming the hub for real estate at the university and Ross," said Weiser. "I am thrilled to be able to help bring this exciting program to fruition at Michigan Ross."  

About the Weisers

Ron and Eileen Weiser are longstanding U-M alumni, volunteers and donors, committing more than $100 million to the university to date. In addition to Ron Weiser's service on the U-M Board of Regents, they both served as vice-chairs of the Victors for Michigan campaign and support a wide range of programs across all three campuses of the university, including the Weiser Diplomacy Center, Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia, Michigan Medicine's Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center, and the Chad Carr Pediatric Brain Tumor Center. In addition, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Michigan Medicine; School of Music, Theatre & Dance; UM-Dearborn, and dozens of other units have been beneficiaries of the Weisers' generosity.

Ron Weiser, a 1966 graduate of Michigan Ross, is the founder of McKinley Inc., a national real estate investment company based in Ann Arbor. Eileen Weiser, an alumnus of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, is a former executive director of the McKinley Foundation and served eight years on the National Assessment Governing Board. She has served on the University Musical Society Board of Directors and is a member of the UMS Senate. She just recently finished her second, eight-year term on Michigan's State Board of Education and currently chairs the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. She has also served on numerous civic boards.