For many graduates, debt from student loans looms large. But thanks to the generosity of FIU alumnus Malcolm Butters (MSRE ’83), president and co-founder of Butters Construction & Development, Inc., the debt burden for two students who received their Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE) at Florida International University (FIU) has been eased.
Hugo R. Barragan (MSIRE ’15) and Lenny Longo (MSIRE ’15) were each awarded $12,125 as recipients of the Malcolm Butters Real Estate Scholarship Awards. The announcement and presentation happened at the graduation dinner for the MSIRE class of the Tibor and Sheila Hollo School of Real Estate on June 30, 2015, at Smith & Wollensky restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida.
“I couldn’t have completed this program without loans, which I consider an investment because of what an MSIRE degree from FIU will do for me,” said Longo, who was graduated with a 4.0 GPA and earned the Best Student Award for his class. “Mr. Butters’ incredible gift certainly eases the burden. I am extremely grateful.”
At the presentation, Butters said he feels giving to a public university rather than a private school is a better destination for donor dollars.
“I feel connected to FIU which has done wonders for me in my career,” added Butters, an inductee in FIU’s College of Business Hall of Fame.
Barragan said that pursuing his MSIRE degree at FIU is one of the best professional decisions of his life.
“The caliber of the faculty and the quality of cohorts in my class has opened up a world of possibilities for me,” he said. “Being able to get loans was critical to me in order to get this degree and I am lucky to live in a country where that is possible. For Mr. Butters to reduce my debt is an enormous gift that I am happy and honored to receive.”
Barragan is a licensed associate real estate broker with Brown Harris Stevens Zilbert in Miami Beach, which deals with luxury residential and commercial properties. Longo operates his own real estate finance company, Equity Trac, and has been involved in residential and commercial real estate projects since 2003.
Graduation marks the ten-year anniversary of MSIRE program.
The awards for the two members of the MSIRE Class of 2015 marked the second year of the Malcolm Butters Real Estate Awards. This year is also the ten-year anniversary for the MSIRE program at FIU. Fewer than 20 universities in North America offer a graduate program in real estate.
“We provide the base knowledge, the confidence and the ability to become a real estate leader in South Florida, Latin America, Asia or Europe,” said William G. Hardin, director of the Hollo School of Real Estate. “Malcolm Butters is an excellent example of where an advanced degree from an international real estate school can take you. He is also an excellent example of giving back.”