White Ruffin Byron Center for Real Estate: A Letter from Center Leadership

White Ruffin Byron Center for Real Estate leadership offers a spring 2024 update.

Dear Alumni, Colleagues, and Friends of the Center,

I hope this message finds you well. I’m pleased to share our latest news and updates. From thought-provoking conferences to groundbreaking research initiatives, there’s much to celebrate.

2023 Conference on Cities & Society: A Resounding Success – On Nov. 10, 2023, the Center hosted an inspiring gathering at the Darden School of Business. Over 350 alumni, esteemed faculty, and current UVA students came together for our Conference on Cities & Society. The daylong program featured captivating discussions on topics ranging from affordable housing to the future of cities. Notably, UVA President Jim Ryan extended a warm welcome, and Melody Barnes, Executive Director of the Karsh Institute of Democracy, delivered an incredible keynote address. We encourage you to review this detailed recap and photo gallery of the event.

Mark Your Calendars: 2024 Conference on Reimagining Commercial Real Estate – Save the date! Our 2024 conference is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 8, right here in Charlottesville. We look forward to another enriching experience, bringing together thought leaders, practitioners, and visionaries to explore today’s challenges and opportunities in commercial real estate. 

Faculty Research Seed Grants – As part of our commitment to advancing knowledge, we recently awarded five seed grants to faculty members across various schools on Grounds.

  • Leora Friedberg, Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy: “The House—Is It an Asset or a Liability?”
  • Devin Harris, Professor and Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Arsalan Heydarian, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: “Digital Twin of UVA Grounds through Visual Narra7ves and Virtual Reality”
  • Seongkook Heo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science: “Space Pinning for Fluid Remote Communication on Real Estate”
  • Kyle Schumann, Assistant Professor of Architecture, and Katie MacDonald, Assistant Professor of Architecture: “Non-Planar Wood Construction Systems”
  • Sarah Turner, University Professor of Economics & Education and Souder Family Professor: “How Changes in Federal Student Loan Policy Impact Home Ownership and the Residential Real Estate Market”

These grants will fuel innovative projects in civil and environmental engineering, computer science, economics, architecture, and education. Learn more about the ways the Center supports research.

Student Trek to DC and Northern Virginia – Last month, we collaborated with Darden’s Mayo Center for Asset Management to offer our third student trek. Thirty-five students, from first-years to graduate students (including our first Ph.D. candidate!), explored the region’s real estate industry. Visits and tours with leading companies—DPR Construction, FCP, Trammell Crow, and JLL—provided invaluable perspectives. The trek culminated in an alumni-student networking reception at The Royal Sonesta Hotel Capitol Hill that attracted a crowd of nearly 100. View a recap and photos from the trek. 

Sanderford Speaker Series Highlights – Our Sanderford Speaker Series kicked off this semester with an engaging talk by Ryan Johnson (McIntire ’06), Managing Director of Real Estate at New Jersey Community Capital and a valued member of the Center’s advisory board. Ryan shared his inspiring journey into impact investing. We also had the pleasure of hosting Meghan Fitzgerald (A&S ’08), Senior Director of Luxury Brand Management at Hilton, who spoke about the hospitality company’s brand management strategy and the market analysis that drives it.  Most recently, Greystar sent several alumni to Grounds to walk us through several case studies involving student-housing assets local to Charlottesville and reviewed how the underwriting process differs from standard multifamily assets. Thank you to Harlan Schade (McIntire ’20), Sam Banks (A&S ’18), George Shepherd (A&S ’21), and campus recruiting contact Abby McConnell.

 UVA Alumni Networking Reception in New York City – Join us on Thursday, April 11, at the Savoy Club in the GM Building for a UVA alumni networking reception focused on real estate. Whether you’re in the New York region, attending the nearby ULI Spring Meeting, or part of the broader UVA real estate community, we invite you to RSVP and connect with fellow alumni. Our featured speaker during the reception is Alice Raucher, Architect for the University.

Thank you for your ongoing support and engagement, which drive our mission forward. Here’s to a fruitful spring season and the continued growth of our vibrant UVA real estate community.


Keven Lindemann
Executive Director
White Ruffin Byron Center for Real Estate

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