Malcolm Butters graduated from a Master’s program at Florida International University’s (FIU) College of Business in 1984. He started his career in real estate with a big advantage: no student loans to pay off. He chose the job he wanted and started saving for a car, a home, and later, an entrepreneurial venture, without the burden of debt on his shoulders.
With three decades of success behind him, Butters, co-founder and owner of Butters Construction and Development, knows how fortunate he was. He wanted to help those Hollo School of Real Estate graduates who had to take out loans to finance their education. With student debt one of the biggest issues facing today’s graduates and the nation as a whole, Butters said, “I want to help these graduates pay down their loans so that they can have a clean start and become successful members of the real estate community.”
On June 26, 2014, Butters made his vision a reality. At the Hollo School of Real Estate’s Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE) graduation dinner, before a packed crowd of over 100 at the Oceanaire Seafood in Miami including 47 graduates, their guests and faculty members, two MSIRE graduates with outstanding academic performances and loans to pay off received the first Malcolm Butters Real Estate Awards of $12,500 each.
Gratitude leads to a unique gift.
“FIU has been great to me,” Butters said. “I have succeeded because of the tremendous education I received. Now, I have the opportunity to honor two hard-working, experienced real estate professionals who sacrificed family time, and invested most if not all of their savings, to achieve this degree.”
The first recipient chosen, Juan Alvarez, has two minor children and worked in real estate since 1999. To take on the MSIRE, he put aside most of his work, took out loans, and poured himself full time into the online program.
“I am grateful for this scholarship and the financial freedom it allows me to expand my real estate career,” Alvarez said. Reflecting on the recognition he received for his Best Student Award and straight-A 4.0 GPA record, he said, “I wish everyone could feel what I felt as I heard my name called. It is a blessing to receive this award, and I thank Malcolm Butters for his generosity.”
Tammy Garcia, who had been active in real estate since 1993, entered the program just as her husband lost his job and her father, who had planned to help pay her tuition, passed away. She made the decision to take out loans and strived for the highest grades she could, graduating with a straight-A average.
“I’m so grateful that Mr. Butters has done this for the FIU student community,” Garcia said. “I will do my very best to make him proud, and to ensure that the investment he has made in me, and the trust he has placed in me, will go toward making the best of every goal I have for my future in real estate.”
William Hardin, director of the Hollo School, noted that Butters has been a long-time friend and supporter of the MSIRE program, and has delivered lectures and participated in special events since his graduation.
“Stay connected to the people you’ve met here,” Hardin told graduates. “Build that FIU network. As we build South Florida, everyone here will be part of the real estate industry leadership.”