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Newmark Knight Frank President James D. Jimmy Kuhn and his wife Marjorie have given a $1 million endowment to the Real Estate Institute (NYU-REI) at New York Universitys School of Continuing and Professional Studies-one of the largest gifts ever received by the Institute-to fund a permanent initiative to promote greater diversity in the real estate industry.
The Kuhns gift kicks off a larger campaign to raise and build an endowment in support of the Institute. The campaign will be announced at the NYU-REIs annual Urban Leadership Dinner on June 24th at the Waldorf=Astoria. The dinner marks the close of the 40th anniversary year of the Institute. Past and present supporters of the Institute will be honored-in particular, the past presidents of its powerhouse industry Advisory Board, including Larry Silverstein, who led the founding of the Institute at NYU four decades ago.
The James and Marjorie Kuhn Program to Foster Diversity in Real Estate will support student recruitment and scholarships, professional mentoring, career placement, and other activities at the NYU-REI. These efforts will aim to expand access to the Institutes academic programs and ultimately increase the numbers of people from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds for executive roles in such areas as real estate finance, development, and commercial brokerage.
The Kuhns are long-standing supporters of the Institute. In fact, the couple first met while Marjorie was doing coursework at the NYU-REI and James was teaching as an adjunct. Today, Marjorie is active in philanthropic, civic, and educational causes and James, in addition to leading Newmark Knight Frank-one of the worlds largest independent real estate service companies-serves as chairman of the NYU-REIs Advisory Board, among his own civic and philanthropic activities.
Founded in 1967, the NYU-REI is home to graduate and professional continuing education programs in real estate, construction management, and related fields. The Institute is also renowned for hosting annual industry-wide conferences, such as the annual NYU REIT Symposium and the NYU Real Estate Capital Markets Conference.
New York University has been a big part of my life during the last 30 years, says Mr. Kuhn. I think that it is up to the leaders of the real estate community to support education in our field. Furthermore, I believe everyone should have the opportunity to be educated at the best universities and placed in industries like real estate.
James and Marjorie Kuhns visionary gift will help the REI keep its doors wide open to motivated, high-achieving people, and make the industry more inclusive of all the communities that make up our multicultural world, says NYU-SCPS Dean Robert S. Lapiner. The scholarships and other support structures to be funded through The James and Marjorie Kuhn Program to Foster Diversity in Real Estate will help students of all backgrounds attain mastery of real estate practice and foster their emergence into industry leaders.
D. Kenneth Patton, divisional dean of the NYU-REI and the Klara and Larry Silverstein Chair of Real Estate Development, says, The Kuhns extraordinary generosity will ensure that the REIs student body remains richly diverse and a fertile source of the skilled, talented graduates that the profession requires to prosper and meet its global responsibilities.
Uniting Kuhns Longtime Causes-Education and Opportunity
This path-breaking gift unites two causes of critical importance to James Kuhn-his ongoing support of increased professionalization of the industry through education and his longtime efforts to increase entrée to the field by qualified men and women of all backgrounds.
James Kuhn has a three-decade-long connection to the NYU-REI. He has taught and guest-lectured regularly for years, and chaired the Institutes Real Estate Roundtable of industry leaders. Further, Kuhn advises on curricular issues and successfully advocated for the creation of the NYU-REIs Master of Science in Real Estate program.
Kuhn has been equally committed to expanding opportunity in the commercial real estate industry-in which minorities accounted for less than one percent of its professionals nationwide as recently as 2006, according to the Real Estate Associate Program, a professional advocacy group. For example, when he chaired what was then the Young Mens Real Estate Association of New York in 1985, he successfully advocated that the organization change its name to the Young Mens/Womens Real Estate Association. Since then women have made great strides and today many of them stand at the pinnacle in banking, investment, and development, he says.
The Kuhns believe that the real estate industry must broaden the participation of women and men from diverse backgrounds. It is the right thing to do, Mr. Kuhn says. And, the profession will benefit by further embracing the nations multi-cultural character, considering the global trends impacting the real estate business.
Critical Importance of Philanthropic Support to the NYU-REI
Since its founding four decades ago, the Real Estate Institute has grown into an unmatched resource for the education and career development of real estate leaders, says Dean Lapiner. This transformation has happened in large measure through the ongoing support of industry champions like the Kuhns and many others, and their generous and imaginative acts of philanthropy.
In 1967, developer Larry Silverstein and a group of leading real estate executives founded the NYU-REI, one of the earliest university-based centers for higher education in the field of real estate finance and development. It opened with an enrollment of 400 continuing education students and a 17-course curriculum. All instructors were industry professionals, cementing the Institutes model of clinical instruction-combining the understanding drawn from practical experience with rigorous academic curricula-that has educated thousands of real estate practitioners over the years since.
Today, the NYU-REI has annual enrollments of nearly 5,000 in its continuing professional education programs and offers Master of Science degrees in Real Estate and in Construction Management. Its faculty has grown to include twelve full-time clinical professors and several hundred affiliated adjunct instructors. The NYU-REI now attracts students from across the nation and 25 countries. Its annual events, such as the REIT and Capital Markets conferences, have become must-attend meetings for industry professionals.
About the Kuhns
During the course of his career, James Kuhn has been an advisor, broker, or principal in over $3 billion in transactions for 25 million square feet of commercial and residential real estate. Prior to joining Newmark in 1992, he was in partnership for 15 years with Bernard Mendik. He holds both a B.B.A. in Finance and an M.B.A. in Real Estate from Syracuse University.
Marjorie Kuhn is a graduate of Marymount College and recently began a masters program in fundraising management at Columbia University. Active in philanthropic causes, Mrs. Kuhn has been involved in fundraising for the Horace Mann School, serving at various times over the past 20 years as head of its parents association and the Schools annual benefit. She is a member of the boards of the American Jewish Committee and the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. She is also co-dinner chair of the Legends Ball for Pratt Institute.
About the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Founded in 1934, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) is among the 15 colleges and schools that comprise New York University, one of the largest private research universities in the United States. Through its faculty, curricula and vibrant professional and academic networks, NYU-SCPS captures the expertise of key sectors where New York leads globally: Real Estate and Construction Management (through the NYU Real Estate Institute); Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management (through the NYU Preston Robert Tisch Center); Philanthropy (through the NYU George H. Heyman Center); Design, Digital Arts, Film, Video and Broadcasting, Graphic Communications, and Publishing (through the Division of Media Industry Studies and Design); Business, Leadership and Human Capital Management, Integrated Marketing, Public Relations, Legal Studies, Finance, Taxation, Accounting, Management and Technology (through the Division of Programs in Business); Global Affairs; and the Liberal and Applied Arts, among others. Rigorous and timely programs in these and related areas attract full-time undergraduate and graduate students immersed in university life, working professionals in 14 graduate programs, motivated adults earning undergraduate degrees (through the Paul McGhee Division), and New Yorkers of all backgrounds enrolled in approximately 2,500 continuing education courses, certificate programs, conferences, and seminars annually.