Million dollar gift to expand Ball State's residential property management program

Topic: College of Applied Sciences and Technology

October 5, 2011

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Mitch Whaley, dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Technology, discusses how a $1 million gift from Dean Weidner, owner of Weidner Property Apartment Homes, will benefit Ball State~~~s residential property management program.
Ball State University's residential property management (RPM) program is ready to grow in a major way, thanks to a $1 million gift from Dean Weidner, owner of Weidner Property Apartment Homes. 

"Ball State's residential property management program is proven to teach and develop in its graduates the necessary skills for this exciting career," said Weidner, who founded the Seattle-based real estate investment and management company in 1977. "With this donation, I'd like to expand the program, as well as enable more students to attend and pursue careers in this industry."

RPM students take courses in housing, interior design, construction, marketing, leasing, maintenance, management, accounting and real estate. Consistently achieving 100 percent pass rates on two national certification exams, its graduates are employed with traditional apartment communities, government housing, retirement housing, student housing and condominium associations around the country.

Increasing the program's visibility 

With the gift, Ball State will create the Weidner Center for Residential Property Management, using funds to establish an educational collaboration between the company and university that elevates the program to national status. Funds also will be used for establishing the Weidner Scholarship Endowment, creating multiple scholarships annually for talented students interested in pursuing residential property management as a career.

"All of this will serve to increase the visibility of our RPM program, as well as allow us to make curriculum enhancements that should translate into higher enrollments, thereby preparing more professionals for the field," said Mitch Whaley, dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Technology, which houses the program in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. "Our vision is to position the Weidner Center as the preferred educational provider for the industry."

'The best in the nation'

Marie Virgilio, Weidner's director of recruitment, presented the gift to Ball State during a public presentation on Oct. 4. Virgilio, who travels the country seeking out qualified college graduates to work for Weidner, said Ball State's RPM program "is the best in the nation. I wish every college in the country had a program of its caliber." In the past three years, 15 Ball State students have interned or been hired by Weidner.

Weidner's property holdings include more than 190 apartment communities located in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Washington and four Canadian provinces. The company has no intention of expanding its market into Indiana, but is committed to hiring talented property managers. As Virgilio explained, "I can think of no higher quality graduates with the level of strong industry knowledge and designations we are seeking than those I've met here at Ball State."

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