Richmond-based Virginia Commonwealth University announced a $2.5 million gift from CoStar Group to establish the CoStar Group Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics in the VCU School of Business.
The gift was announced last week by CoStar Founder and Chief Executive Officer Andy Florance and Dean of the VCU School of Business Ed Grier during the 27th annual VCU Real Estate Trends Conference in front of a crowd of 1,400 industry professionals, faculty and students.
“In establishing the CoStar Group Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics, we aim to bring the intersection of big data and real estate together to bring more transparency, velocity and efficiency to the global commercial real estate market,” said Florance, noting that the grant will help the school grow its already significant role in educating and developing the next generation of real estate professionals.
“We are thrilled and excited to receive such a generous gift from CoStar,” said Grier. “The VCU School of Business and CoStar are natural partners with our common focus on creativity, analytics and innovation. We couldn’t have a better partner for our university and community.”
Grier and Florance met at the 2016 VCU Real Estate Trends Conference, and since then the CoStar-VCU partnership has flourished.
“Just less than one year ago, CoStar committed to a future in Richmond with the announcement of our global research headquarters downtown,” Florance said. “The state and city made it possible to come to Richmond, and Virginia Commonwealth University is a key component of our incredible success here over the past year. We currently employ 165 associates who have a degree from VCU.” Those 165 VCU alumni comprise nearly a third of CoStar’s Richmond workforce.
Organizations and individuals fund endowed chairs to build partnerships with a university and its students — who represent the future workforce, Grier said. Increasing the number of endowed positions, and faculty support in general, is one of the pillars of the Make It Real Campaign for VCU, the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history with a $750 million goal.
“Endowed chairs reward excellence and are essential to attracting and retaining top faculty talent,” Grier said. “Holding an endowed chair is an honor for a professor and carries with it the expectation and responsibility of continuing to make significant contributions to his or her discipline, the school and the community.”
VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said CoStar has quickly become “a wonderful partner” for VCU.
“We are grateful they chose to locate in Richmond and work so closely with VCU — a city and university rapidly becoming known for being forward-thinking and innovative,” Rao said. “I look forward to the many opportunities our students will have as a result of the CoStar Endowed Chair in Real Estate Analytics.”