Donation to create new generation of real estate agents

Jacqueline Rosado/ Contributing Writer

The University is creating a generation of real estate agents that will shape South Florida’s market, regionally and internationally, now with the help of a local entrepreneur.

Tibor Hollo, the president  and founder of  Florida East Coast Realty, a local construction firm, donated $2.5 million to the University’s graduate real estate program, according to Suzanne Hollander, professor in the department of finance and real estate.

As a result of Hollo’s donation, the program has been renamed Tibor and Sheila Hollo School of Real Estate.

Zhonghua Wu, assistant professor in the department of finance and real estate, said the official announcement was made at a luncheon held in JW Marriott on Sept. 21.

Hollander said the program is meant to formally educate students specifically on real estate.

William Hardin, director of the University’s Master of Science in International Real Estate, said the University’s College of Business is one of 25 programs nationwide that offer a graduate program in real estate. In regards to how the donation will be used, Hardin said they plan on expanding their online program by making it more accessible to its students.

Hardin says he believes real estate is essential to South Florida and the University. He said the program gives graduate students an opportunity to learn more about real estate and its influence on the market.

“People need as much education as possible to make better choices, which in turn creates a better quality in life,” Hardin said.

In 2008, the University was ranked No. 18 in real estate research in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.

“[The program] raises the esteem and power of the program’s degree, helping students in their futures when they step into the professional world,” Hollander said. “Tibor Hollo is a role model. His accomplishments and influence in the real estate world will help inspire and motivate our students to serve our community through real estate.”

Hardin said the University worked with the Hollos in the past and developed a professional relationship over time. When the Hollos learned more about the University’s real estate program, they saw an opportunity to expand it and made their donation.

According to Hardin, the Hollos saw Miami needed higher education in real estate and they wanted the program to provide higher graduate courses for its students.

Hollander said the program is available for undergraduates and graduates. The undergraduates start by getting their bachelor’s in business and finance. Once they obtain their degree, they can apply for the MSIRE program to pursue a master’s in international real estate.

The MSIRE graduate program is a 10-month long program offered two evenings per week at the Chapman Graduate School of Business’s Downtown Center in Brickell. It is also available through FIU Online.

According to Hardin, the program works to create a future generation of fundamental economic drivers that know enough in the field, allowing them to make decisions in an economic way.

“I think the new Tibor and Sheila Hollo School establishes a great platform to build up stronger real estate programs at FIU,” Wu said. “The gift provides us with much needed financial support, which enables us to better educate real estate professionals in South Florida and beyond.”

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