The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $62,000 donation from the Arkansas Real Estate Foundation to create an endowed scholarship fund for real estate students.
Board members of the Arkansas Real Estate Foundation and members of the Arkansas Real Estate Commission, as well as UA Little Rock professors, staff, and real estate students, cheered during the signing of the documents acknowledging the donation.
“We are charged with educating the public and practitioners about real estate, and we felt there was no better way to do that than to support an institution that is changing the future of our market,” said Stuart Mackey, president of the Arkansas Real Estate Foundation. “We are just excited to invest in the education of students in Arkansas.”
The Arkansas Real Estate Foundation Endowed Scholarship will be awarded annually to a junior or senior real estate student who is an Arkansas resident and has a GPA of 2.75 or higher. The scholarship can be used for tuition, books, fees, or room and board.
“The Arkansas Real Estate Foundation’s investment in the lives of our students and our College of Business will impact central Arkansas’s real estate industry for generations to come,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement. “As one of just three endowed scholarships supporting our real estate program, this gift will continue to grow in perpetuity, allowing us to support multiple students each year with the critical funds needed to continue their education. We are grateful for both The Arkansas Real Estate Foundation’s support of our students and their trust in UA Little Rock.”
UA Little Rock’s College of Business began its real estate program in the 1970s, but the college began revising the program in 2016 with advice from the local real estate community.
“There is not a single person who hasn’t been affected by real estate at some point in their life, so this program really has something for everybody, said Dr. Mark Funk, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance. “The real estate market is changing constantly, and we felt there was an opportunity to better serve the real estate industry in central Arkansas. Our students were seeking more opportunities in the real estate community to prepare for their careers.”
Elizabeth Small, former president and CEO of PDC Companies and PDC Construction, was hired as an instructor for the real estate program.
“Real estate is my passion,” Small said. “I was in the real estate business for 32 years and decided it was time to make a change and do what I wanted to do since I was 4 years old, which was to teach. When I started two years ago, the list of real estate majors was short, but it has grown incredibly.”
Since joining UA Little Rock, Small said the real estate program has placed an emphasis on building partnerships with the real estate community to provide opportunities for students to participate in real-world experiences before they graduate.
Members of the Arkansas Real Estate Foundation and other members of the local real estate community serve on a 13-member advisory board, as guest speakers in classes, and mentors to students as well as consult on curriculum development and provide internships opportunities.
“We really appreciate the efforts of the Arkansas Real Estate Foundation,” Small said. “Stuart Mackey has been a great proponent for these scholarships, and the students are already asking how to apply. This is a signature day for the College of Business real estate program.”
The UA Little Rock real estate program prepares students for careers in real estate investment and management, real estate law, real estate title and research, property management, appraising, and bank lending.