Donation establishes real estate institute

Donna (left) and Herb Weitzman made a $3 million gift to JSOM to establish a dedicated real estate institute. Photo courtesy of Jindal School of Management.


The Jindal School of Management announced last Tuesday a $3 million donation to establish a dedicated real estate institute at UTD.

The donation, made by Dallas-based real estate leaders Donna and Herb Weitzman, will establish the Herbert D. Weitzman Institute for Real Estate, along with providing funding for scholarships and travel to real estate conferences across the country. Herb Weitzman is the founder of the Weitzman real estate firm, which has operated in Texas since 1989.

Hasan Pirkul, the dean of JSOM, said in his opening remarks at the school’s annual Scholarship Breakfast the creation of the institute was a significant milestone for the university.

“This gift will make it possible for us to make our school the center for real estate, at least for Texas,” Pirkul said. “As Texas goes, the rest of the country (follows).”

Randall Guttery, a clinical professor of finance and managerial economics who also serves as the director of JSOM’s real estate programs, helped oversee the creation of the new institute.

“Mr. Weitzman and I have known each other for years,” Guttery said. “I’ve been advisory to his company, and I’ve done some training for his employees, and you know, we’ve both been (in) the real estate business a long time and known each other, so I think that relationship definitely helped.”

Guttery will serve as the director of the new institute and will oversee the expansion of JSOM’s undergraduate real estate offerings to include a fifth course that focuses on real estate valuation.

“It puts us at the level with other national real estate programs that have been around for many decades,” Guttery said.

Part of the challenge in planning the establishment of the institute was finding common times for all the parties involved — including Weitzman and Kyle Edgington, the vice president for development and alumni relations — to meet, Guttery said.

“Everybody’s so busy,” he said. “That’s probably why it took so long.”

Finance senior Shiv Patel, who serves the president of UTD’s Real Estate Club, said funding for travel to real estate conferences and networking events will boost students’ chances for securing internships.

“A lot of times, students think that they can apply online and call it a day, but in reality, knowing someone within the firm definitely helps,” he said. “Having them going to the conferences, it will definitely but them in a better position than just applying online.”


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