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Fogelman Family Gift Aims to Lessen Real Estate's Extensive Carbon Footprint University News
For release: May 18, 2010

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The Fogelman family of Memphis, long associated with real estate and development, has given $2 million to the University of Memphis college that already bears the family’s name, to assist the U of M in becoming a world leader in the growing area of sustainable real estate.

Announced May 12th by administrators of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics (FCBE) and of the University of Memphis, the gift will enable the University to hire a leading professor to fill the new Martha and Robert Fogelman Family Chair of Excellence in Sustainable Real Estate and will fund an annual forum that will convene “thought leaders” to discuss real estate practices that are friendly to the environment.

Plans call for the new professorship to be filled this fall, initially by a visiting professor and expert in the field. The first forum dealing with sustainable real estate is expected to take place in 2011.

The master of science curriculum will pull from five interdisciplinary areas – architecture in the College of Communication and Fine Arts, biology (urban ecology) and city and regional planning in the College of Arts and Sciences, and civil engineering in the Herff College of Engineering, in addition to finance, insurance, and real estate in the Fogelman College. The curriculum will be available to graduate students. As part of the program, all students working toward a master’s degree in real estate will be encouraged to pursue the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associate professional designation.

Robert Fogelman, grandson of Morris Fogelman, for whom the College is named, and son of the namesake of the new professorship, said buildings account for 40 percent of the energy used in the United States. He added that when he attended an Urban Land Institute meeting about five years ago, developers were saying that they felt green development was too expensive and the payback through energy savings took too long. “But more recently, more people in real estate view sustainable real estate as more affordable and more commercially viable,” he said.

Accepting the gift, FCBE Dean Rajiv Grover said, “We are fortunate to have such a visionary family as our benefactor. As sustainability becomes the globe’s next frontier to conquer, we at the Fogelman College are enabled, because of this funding, to address a significant opportunity – real estate – to make a difference in promoting sustainability. We aim to make the Fogelman College a leader in sustainable real estate research, teaching, and outreach.”

The Fogelman family and University officials expect the new program to make the U of M a world leader in sustainable real estate. They also believe it will have a genuine impact, beginning locally, through collaborations with groups such as the Memphis chapter of the Urban Land Institute and the home builders association.

The U of M joins a group of well known and respected academic and business entities in addressing the concept of sustainability in real estate, including Harvard, the University of Chicago, Pepsico, GE, Kimberly-Clark, and FedEx.

More information about the new program is available from Dr. Ronald W. Spahr, chair, Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate, by phone at 901-678-5930 or via email at

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