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Orlando Real Estate -

Group to auction 3 master's degrees to help UCF's real estate school

December 11th, 2009 6:39 PM by Karyn Smith

Move over, bargain-basement condominiums and foreclosure properties.

The University of Central Florida is about to put a new commodity on the auction block: the tuition, fees and expenses for three master-level business degrees offered through the university's downtown Orlando Administrative Executive Development Center.

The university is donating the educational packages for an auction fundraiser to benefit the Central Florida Chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. The local group, which has about 300 members, has partnered with the school in establishing two endowed chairs and a new graduate degree for commercial real estate.

"It's probably very unusual, however, the funds that are raised at that NAIOP activity go to the school of business administration at UCF," said Thomas L. Keon, dean of the university's business school. "NAIOP has been so helpful to us. They have provided us funding for years."

The starting bid for an executive master of business administration will be $22,000; for the other two — a professional master of business administration or the school's new professional master of real estate — the opening bid will be $17,000. Those prices are about half the retail cost.

UCF has donated master-degree expenses to the real-estate association for previous fundraisers. Keon said he and an associate dean came up with the auction idea several years ago when they were brainstorming about what the university could offer for the association's annual auction.

"The money ends up coming back to the college, in some form," he said. These proceeds will benefit the Jim Heistand-NAIOP Endowed Eminent Scholar Chair in UCF's new Dr. P. Phillips School of Real Estate.

In reality, few people typically bid on the packages, and the bidding hasn't gone far above the opening bid amounts in previous years, Keon said. But the bargain price can make the difference in someone furthering their education, he added. In the past, he said, the school has steered cash-strapped candidates for the master's program to the auction.

Interested bidders usually check with admissions at the college prior to the auction to ensure they can get into the program, said association President Jeff McFadden, a UCF alumnus who has helped spearhead past auctions. He said he hopes the auction will raise $45,000 to $50,000 during an event planned for Nov. 11.

"We've got a really good relationship with the university," McFadden said. "They just got the master's of real estate approved, and they want to get word to the industry that it's out there."

Mary Shanklin can be reached at mshanklin@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5538.
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Posted by Karyn Smith on December 11th, 2009 6:39 PM

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