The UT McCombs School of Business announced it has received a $6 million gift from alum John Goff to support experiential learning initiatives and the real estate program at the Austin campus.
The gift will be used for three strategic growth initiatives at McCombs, complementing the activities of the school’s Real Estate Finance and Investment Center and its 250-member council.
First, Goff has donated $2 million to the Real Estate Investment Fund and will match any additional donations up to $2.5 million, for a total gift of $4.5 million. Once completed, this will bring the total value of the fund from its current $3 million to $10 million.
“This gift will catapult forward a real estate program that is already among the world’s elite,” says Jay Hartzell, dean of the McCombs School. “We will be second to none in our ability to provide experiential learning for our undergraduate and graduate students, complementing the analytical foundation we’ve always given them.”
The fund is unique among business schools, as McCombs is the only business school in the country where undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to oversee investments in public and private real estate funds.
Additionally, $1 million of Goff’s donation will fund a new chair in real estate, allowing the hire of an accomplished tenure-track faculty researcher or a professional fellow with significant real estate experience.
Goff’s investment in real estate initiatives at the school will also fund the creation of the John Goff Labs in Robert B. Rowling Hall, the new graduate school for business at UT Austin. These will include a real estate lab to support experiential learning projects, practicums and events, as well as any additional “theory-to-practice” rooms for use by graduate business students, faculty members and corporate partners.
“Being a graduate of the McCombs School of Business has been extremely meaningful to my career,” Goff says. “I am thrilled to make this gift to enhance the real estate program at McCombs. Jay’s personal background and passion for real estate were catalysts in my decision, and collectively we intend to make this the No. 1 ranked real estate program in the country.”
In late spring of 2015, a group of real estate finance Texas MBA candidates approached Goff with a feasibility study to expand the Real Estate Investment Fund. Hartzell accompanied the students to Fort Worth to pitch their idea to Goff directly.
“John is a legend,” says Scott Sowanick, one of the five Texas MBA candidates to pitch the idea. “Meeting and talking with him about our idea was an incredible honor.”
Although the original group of students that helped conceive the idea for the fund has graduated, they remain in contact with the school and Goff.
“John Goff embodies Texas real estate and everything that a student of real estate aspires to be,” Sowanick adds. “To have an individual of his stature and pedigree take the real estate fund to the next level couldn’t have been scripted any better.”