When Glenn J. Rufrano (MS Real Estate ’74), CEO of New Plan Excel Realty Trust, Inc., gave the first Herbert A. Wertheim lecture of 2005-2006 on November 10, 2005 at Florida International University, he had an impressive audience: ninety-seven individuals, many of them finance and real estate students in the College, and Herbert A. Wertheim himself.
Wertheim, a long-time supporter of the University and the College and member of the Florida International University Board of Trustees, endowed the lecture series in 1993 to bring distinguished speakers and experts in business leadership and entrepreneurship to campus to address the College’s students.
The title of this season’s first lecture by alumnus Glenn J. Rufrano was “Public versus Private Pricing of Real Estate Investment Trusts.” In addition to the lecture, guests were treated to lunch.
Under Rufrano’s leadership, New Plan, which he joined in 2000, has been transformed into one of the nation’s largest public real estate companies, focusing on the ownership and management of more than 440 community and neighborhood shopping centers encompassing more than 63 million square feet of retail space.
“His presentation was from the standpoint of modern real estate finance at an institutional level,” said Paul Jones (BA Real Estate ’78), president, Pyramid Realty Group and founder of the University’s Real Estate Alumni Council—now an Affinity Group of the Business Alumni Chapter.
“I was interested to hear about how he was diversifying his portfolio and reducing risk with a joint venture in Australia,” said Craig Kirsner (MBA ’04), senior financial analyst at Commercial Capital Resources, LLC, and vice president of the Real Estate Alumni Affinity Group.
“Rufrano’s work with an Australian firm demonstrated the wave of the future for real estate investors because the lowest cost of capital may not be domestic,” he said. “The subject matter was a perfect introduction to the University’s Master of Science in International Real Estate.”
From left, Florida International University Board of Trustees member and donor Herbert A. Wertheim, College Executive Dean Joyce J. Elam, and CEO of New Plan Excel Realty Trust Glenn J. Rufrano (MS Real Estate, ’74).
This new program offering will begin in January, 2006, at the College’s Downtown Center, located in Macy*s Florida’s corporate offices at 22 East Flagler Street.
“The talk was amazing,” said Bill Wilson (BA ’04), who is working on his MBA with a concentration in finance. “I felt as though I had walked into a working lunch with a professor who literally taught us. It was ideal because you realized that you don’t have to be in a formal classroom to learn.”
Wilson’s assessment of Rufrano’s teaching skill is accurate. Among his many accomplishments, he is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Real Estate Institute, where he also serves on a number of boards.
“In addition to being very knowledgeable and approachable, he’s one of our own,” Jones said, “a sterling alumnus with a phenomenal background.”
“Rufrano is a great example of how our graduates succeed,” said Wilson, who serves as liaison for the Council of 100, working within the Office of Corporate Relations in the Division of University Advancement. “As a student and employee, I was really happy to see that students get what they pay for when they choose our business school for their education.”