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Press Release

ICSC Chairman and ICSC Foundation Provide Financial Contribution to NCCU

March 22, 2022

ICSC Chairman and ICSC Foundation Provide Financial Contribution to North Carolina Central University to Help Fund Its New Real Estate Program

Launched last fall, the Real Estate Concentration of the Master of Business Administration is the first real estate program within an accredited program among 101 historically black colleges and universities in the United States 

NEW YORK, NY: The ICSC Foundation, in partnership with current ICSC Chairman Glenn Rufrano, made a $100,000 contribution to support a new real estate program within the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at North Carolina Central University’s (NCCU) School of Business. In addition to the financial contribution, the ICSC Foundation will provide a host of student resources, including unlimited student and faculty ICSC membership, mentorship, professional development and discounted registration and networking at ICSC events. 

The real estate concentration curriculum, designed to prepare students for executive positions in commercial, residential and corporate real estate, is the first program of its kind to be initiated among the 101 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). In addition to teaching the fundamentals of real estate, the program creates pathways for black professionals to gain access to the real estate industry, which is directly aligned with the goals and purpose of the ICSC Foundation’s Talent Incubator Project.

“ICSC is taking the lead to help our members recruit and hire qualified and skilled individuals from racially diverse backgrounds in various roles within their companies. The commercial real estate industry must reflect the ever-increasing diversity they are seeing in the communities where they operate and serve,” stated Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. “Through our ICSC Foundation initiatives, ICSC is building a path for racially diverse undergraduate and graduate students that will open doors to new professional opportunities in commercial real estate, and more specifically, the Marketplaces Industry. This will continue to be our goal and responsibility as the leading trade organization that represents our commercial real estate members.”

“It is beyond time for companies within the commercial real estate industry to help level the playing field and provide ongoing opportunities and financial support to real estate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels for racially diverse students who are pursuing careers in commercial real estate and the Marketplaces Industry. The HBCU community is the most critical educational arena that needs our support because it is their graduates who can help to reverse this trend of underrepresentation. I am proud to lend my support to NCCU’s real estate program because their program will become a standard by which other HBCU real estate programs will follow,” stated Glenn Rufrano.

For HBCUs, which have been chronically underfunded, starting new courses is an expensive proposition. The schools focus what resources they have on expanding their offerings in subjects with a clearer pathway to jobs and demonstrated interest from incoming students. The HBCUs that have business schools and finance programs, both of which provide skills useful for roles in commercial real estate, often partner with private companies for recruiting purposes, including internship placements.  

“African Americans are significantly underrepresented in commercial real estate investment and management roles. With this program, NCCU intends to help bring about meaningful change and serve as the model for other HBCUs around the country to follow,” explained Anthony C. Nelson, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business at North Carolina Central University. “Quality education, coupled with real-world interaction with real estate investors and managers, provides the path for advancement and opportunity. We intend to establish a foundation that will provide life-changing principles for generations of students.”

The ICSC Foundation is the non-profit, charitable arm of ICSC dedicated to creating a vibrant retail and real estate industry by building a pipeline of bright, ambitious and diverse talent that can drive the industry forward. Its Talent Incubator Project is a series of leading-edge initiatives offering undergraduate and graduate students multiple entry points to the retail real estate and retail industries, while providing ICSC members access to new, capable talent. 

About ICSC

The member organization for industry advancement, ICSC promotes and elevates the marketplaces and spaces where people shop, dine, work, play and gather as foundational and vital ingredients of communities and economies.  ICSC produces experiences that create connections and catalyze deals; aggressively advocates to shape public policy; develops high-impact marketing and public relations that influence opinion; provides an enduring platform for professional success; and creates forward-thinking content with actionable insights – all of which drive industry innovation and growth.  For more information, please visit www.ICSC.com.


By Keith Hudson

Director, Public Relations