The gift to the school’s Program in Real Estate from the owners of the Hudson Bay Company will be governed in part by the School of Hotel Administration, under a new structure that will include a new focus on real estate finance.
The Cornell University Program in Real Estate has received an $11 million gift that will more than triple the program’s current $5 million endowment. The gift, made by Richard and Lisa Baker, owners of the Hudson Bay Company, will be used for what will now be known as the Baker Program in Real Estate, which is being restructured and will be governed by the two schools most directly aligned with teaching, research and professional careers in the field of real estate – the College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP) and the School of Hotel Administration (SHA).
The new structure will become effective on July 1 and will have physical space in both schools, which will collaborate to offer a comprehensive set of ancillary and career services.
“It’s already an excellent program, one of the top real estate professional programs in the country,” said John Siliciano, Cornell’s Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, who added that the new funding “allows it to move even further.”
“We thought that a commitment like this would bring greater focus, both at and outside of Cornell, on the opportunity to learn about real estate at Cornell,” said Richard Baker, a Cornell graduate and member of the advisory boards of both the School of Hotel Administration and the Program in Real Estate. “I think this is going to help elevate Cornell’s program to be one of the premier real estate programs in the United States.”
Having the real estate program in both colleges “gives the students studying and learning about real estate the opportunity to take advantage of all the dynamic real estate exposure and opportunities that exist at the Hotel School and of the natural relationship that occurs between real estate, urban design and architecture,” Baker said.
The School of Hotel Administration offered Cornell’s first real estate courses. Thanks to the Bakers, “we are now able to build upon SHA’s historical expertise in real estate finance and asset management,” said Michael Johnson, Dean of SHA.
“Two colleges have joined forces to host a unique program that builds on AAP’s renowned expertise in shaping our constructed environment and SHA’s deep strength in real estate finance,” said Kent Kleinman, AAP’s Dean. “Lisa and Richard Baker have made a transformative gift that will catapult real estate studies at Cornell to the very pinnacle of the field. The restructuring combined with the gift opens entirely new horizons for the program.”
“We hope this gives more students the opportunity to have a career in the real estate industry,” said Lisa Baker, noting that learning about the industry is difficult for those not already in a family business. “We do everything as a team, and we’re really happy to be doing this,” she said.
The Bakers’ total gift to Cornell is $12 million, including $1 million for the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.