"I'm very honored and excited to be the first real estate chair at Rutgers," Morris Davis said. "This is an opportunity to build a top real estate program in the middle of some of the top real estate in the world."
The faculty chair was created last year with a $1.5 million commitment from Paul V. Profeta who owns a national real estate investment, management and leasing business that bears his name. Profeta's contribution was matched by an anonymous donor who pledged a total of $27 million to Rutgers University as part of an Endowed Chair Challenge in 2011. The challenge, issued during the "Our Rutgers, Our Future Campaign” was intended to add 18 world class faculty members across the university.
"Professor Davis's appointment advances the stature of Rutgers Business School and will contribute significantly to strengthening the connections between our students and the business community of New Jersey and the metropolitan region," said Glenn Shafer, dean of Rutgers Business School. "We are very grateful to Paul Profeta and our anonymous donor for making this initiative possible."
The endowed chair also was the catalyst for the formation of the Center for Real Estate Studies (or CRES as it is known familiarly) at Rutgers Business School. Ronald Shapiro, a veteran real estate and banking executive, has served as the center's director since last summer.
Shapiro described the appointment of Morris Davis as "a major game changer" as Rutgers Business School continues "to advance and promote real estate as an integral part of its future academic curriculum, executive educational programs, and industry conferences."
Working with Shapiro, Davis will develop an undergraduate and MBA real estate program, forge connections with the industry and work to establish the Rutgers brand for real estate study. "That doesn't happen overnight," Davis said, "but with case competitions, through deep connections with the industry and by creating a pipeline to employment."
Professor Ivan Brick, who led the search for a professor to fill the Profeta Chair, said the committee believed he was the "perfect candidate" because of his research impact in the field and his administrative experience as the director of the real estate center in Wisconsin.