–By Cynthia Corzo for FIU BizNews
FIU Business has received a $250,000 gift from noted developer Malcolm Butters and his wife Catherine Butters to support high-level teaching and research at the Hollo School of Real Estate.
This initial gift, plus an additional $250,000 in matching funds, will establish the Butters Endowed Professorship, a $500,000 endowment to support one professor. To date $83,500 has been raised to match Butters’ contribution for a total of $333,500 towards the $500,000 goal.
“The real estate program is one of the leaders in the country,” said Butters (MSIRE ’83), president and co-founder of Coconut Creek-based Butters Construction and Development, established in 1990. “In order to expand it and compete at the highest levels, we need to focus on faculty, bringing in and retaining top professors.”
In January the Hollo School of Real Estate was ranked #1 in the U.S. and #2 globally by the Journal of Real Estate Literature for the fifth consecutive year. The rankings highlight faculty and university contributions to the field of real estate research from 2015-2019.
“This faculty support fund will live in perpetuity and will ensure the Hollo School can retain top faculty talent who excel in research as well as in the classroom, continuing to produce at the highest level,” said Eli Beracha, director of the Hollo School of Real Estate.
Butters, who recently signed on to co-chair the Hollo Advisory Board, pointed out that FIU Business’ real estate program has evolved extraordinarily since he studied there, attracting top-notch professors and an increasing number of students.
“FIU has one of the largest concentrations of global researchers on business, economic, and finance related to commercial real estate and housing,” said William Hardin, associate dean of FIU’s Chapman Graduate School and former director of the Hollo School. “Students are exposed to and get to know “world class” faculty and they learn to play and win on the local and global stages.”
Butters and his wife Catherine are actively involved in educational assistance programs. In 2019 they established a scholarship at the Hollo School to ease student debt of two MSIRE graduates each year. They fund others dedicated to undergraduates as well as high schoolers in South Florida.
“FIU has been great to me,” Butters said. “I have succeeded because of the tremendous education I received as a graduate student here.”
He describes the FIU Business real estate program as a springboard, opening doors to internships, contacts and networking. Butters’ first job, in the real estate department of Travelers Insurance, came about from one of those internships. That, he noted, led to many opportunities.
Today, Butters Construction & Development is one of South Florida’s largest commercial developers. The real estate development and brokerage firm owns and manages 3 million square feet of properties. Butters has received numerous awards over the years, including NAIOP Developer of the Year and the South Florida Business Journal Structures Awards.
What’s the best advice he would give students today?
“If you’re really passionate about real estate, stick with it,” said Butters. “Read a lot of articles and connect with others. The more you’re able to socialize in the real estate industry, the more you can move forward… you get good ideas, learn about different capital sources.”
In addition to the Master of Science in International Real Estate, offered in both traditional and online forums, the Hollo School offers an undergraduate degree in real estate, and houses the Jerome Bain Real Estate Institute. Additional donations to fully fund the Butter’s Endowed Professorship can be made at https://business.fiu.edu/butters-professorship/.