UMD Creates New Undergraduate Minors in Real Estate Development and Construction Management

May 23, 2019 / Updated Aug 23, 2019

John Colvin and President Wallace Loh sign Letter of Agreement for new minors.
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John Colvin and President Wallace Loh sign Letter of Agreement for new minors.

The University of Maryland has announced the establishment of two new undergraduate minors, one in real estate development and one in construction management. Generously funded by the Colvin Family Foundation, the new minors will offer foundational knowledge in community building, entrepreneurship, business development, sustainable construction and design through experiential learning and a professionally guided curriculum, forwarding the University’s continued mission to support student innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The kind of responsibility we have as a land grant institution is reflected in the values of John and Karen Colvin and the Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development,” said University President Wallace Loh at the signing of the Letter of Agreement yesterday at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “We are very fortunate to celebrate this magnificent gift from the Colvin’s that will expand this program to undergraduates.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for undergraduates across the whole university,” said Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “This new program is precisely in line with our University’s mission: to involve our students in real-world problems and educate them in multidisciplinary challenges so that they can actively address the problems the world faces.”

The interdisciplinary minors will be jointly administered by the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the A. James Clarke School of Engineering. Available to undergraduate students campus-wide, the minors will offer a mix of existing and new coursework to match and anticipate industry trends. Margaret McFarland, the director of the Colvin Institute for Real Estate Development and the University’s Master of Real Estate Development Program, and Chuck Schwartz, Chair of Environmental and Civil Engineering, anticipate the first courses will be available by fall 2015.

The Colvin Family Foundation, under the guidance of John and Karen Colvin, has pledged $1,000,000 to support the initiative. The University anticipates the new gift will not just support the new minors, but seed the study for a future undergraduate major in Real Estate Development.

“Real Estate Development might be the most entrepreneurial enterprise that there is in this country,” said John Colvin. “To me, it is critical to keep the barriers to entry in this industry to a minimum, so that future graduates of this program will be able to get their degree and, if they chose to, be in the business the next day. That’s the real importance of what we’re about to do; to foster that entrepreneurial spirit and train the developers of the future to be prepared to recognize and seize those opportunities when they come.”

In 2007, John and Karen Colvin provided the endowment for The Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development, an initiative that helped start UMD’s Master of Real Estate Development Program. They are dedicated supporters of both the school and its students, and passionate about education. John Colvin is an alumnus of the University and a principal owner of Questar Properties.

“This is an incredible moment in our school’s history,” said David Cronrath, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “John and Karen’s gift will continue our mission to deliver a holistic education in sustainable, innovative practice—no matter the discipline—to the future stewards of this country.”