University of Maryland Newsdesk.www.newsdesk.umd.edu
For Immediate Release
"Green" UM Real Estate Program to Get Greener
The University of Maryland's innovative real estate development program - distinguished by its broad-based approach to sustainability - will expand significantly with a major gift from Baltimore developer John B. Colvin and his wife Karen.
The $3 million gift to Great Expectations, the Campaign for Maryland, will establish the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development in Maryland's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The Institute will be the academic home for the school's two year-old Masters in Real Estate Development (MRED), giving the program a solid financial foundation, creating a new track with even greater focus on sustainable development, expanding its leadership training, as well as extending the program's public outreach and international presence.
"The Colvin Institute opens a new chapter for us," says Margaret McFarland, who directs Maryland's MRED program. "It gives us a solid platform for growth and resources to enrich the curriculum. There's a growing recognition that development needs to get smarter and greener, and our program will now reflect this with more intense focus."
Increasing support for innovative programs like this is a key goal of Maryland's campaign to raise $1 billion by 2011.
Educating a New Generation of Developers
"We're turning out young and mid-career developers with a focus on a quadruple bottom-line: economic viability, environmental and social responsibility, and beautiful, sustainable design," McFarland says. "We're going well beyond the traditional finance and business approach to real estate education."
The program covers the broad spectrum of issues involved in developing land with an emphasis on "green" approaches to all aspects of design and development, including energy efficiency for structures and communities, adaptive reuse of historic and older buildings, innovative approaches to planning and permitting in support of smart growth, public-private partnerships that support mixed-use, transit-oriented development and affordable housing.
"The rules of the game are changing very quickly, and both the industry and higher education need to adapt," says John B. Colvin, the Baltimore developer who is endowing the new Institute. "When the first group of Maryland real estate students graduates later this year, a number of communities will already have mandatory 'green' regulations. These graduates may well know as much or more on these issues than anyone else in their firms," Colvin adds. "My goal is to raise the bar for education in real estate development nationally. The field is changing rapidly and students everywhere need the broad-based, solid grounding that Maryland students get."
Colvin's gift is the biggest in the history of Maryland's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.
"We've reached a point where builders and developers are discovering what other industries have: environmental sensitivity can be profitable," says Garth Rockcastle, dean of the school. "We're teaching the professionals in our program not only environmental design principles, but an understanding of public-private ventures. With these skills, we believe they'll be poised for success in a changing industry."
Maryland's real estate development program has grown more than five-fold in less than two years, from a class of 12 in the fall of 2006 to 75 in the current semester.
"I've worked on building this program for years because the new demands of the development industry require familiarity with all the areas we teach - design, planning and preservation," Rockcastle says. "This gift gives us the resources to make full creative use of our expertise."
John Colvin is a principal of Questar, a Baltimore-based group of real estate development firms. For 35 years, he has been active in the development, construction and management of multi-family residential apartment complexes, suburban office buildings and strip shopping centers.
Colvin has a keen interest in Smart Growth, and has been actively involved in state and local regulatory issues affecting development. He is past president of the Maryland Builders Association and the Home Builders Association of Maryland, as well as a past director of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.
Also, he is a Maryland alum (1969) and a senior fellow in the University of Maryland Executive Programs at the School of Public Policy.