Within Mays Business School at Texas A&M University resides the highly-ranked Master of Real Estate Program—a degree that comes with a nearly perfect 100 percent job placement record, access to industry leaders and automatic induction into the Aggie Real Estate Network, an alumni group that provides graduates with professional development opportunities.
The graduate program allows students to explore a variety of concentrations within the industry while gaining the fundamental knowledge of commercial real estate.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M, Cydney C. Donnell ’81 was able to succeed in an industry she loves. Now, as director of real estate programs and an executive professor within the Department of Finance, Donnell has witnessed firsthand the booming success of the master’s program.
“Thirty-five years ago when I was a graduate, real estate in Texas was headed into a major oversupply. However, I entered the industry at a time when leaders wanted to prove that commercial real estate could be run ethically and professionally,” said Donnell. “I am so proud of the transformation of our industry and I want our students to become the new leaders of the revitalized real estate world.”
Donnell’s enthusiasm for the Master of Real Estate Program goes beyond words and sentiment. Recently, she gave $1 million to the Texas A&M Foundation to support the program’s teaching, research, service and professional development activities, with $750,000 earmarked for matching funds. She will double the value of future donations of $25,000 or more from the Cydney C. Donnell ’81 Faculty Fellowship.
As a former member of the Texas A&M Foundation Investment Advisory Committee, Donnell has worked with the Foundation before. However, this time, she was able to ensure the future of the Master of Real Estate program within Mays and establish a lifelong legacy at Texas A&M.Two other graduates from Texas A&M—Preston Young ’02 and Malcolm Stewart ’73—are also supporting the program with major gifts.
Young, a regional managing partner for Stream Realty Partners, committed $100,000, while Stewart, chief operating officer at Camden Property Trust, established a fund with an additional $100,000 toward the program. Both gifts will be matched with a $100,000 gift from the Cydney C. Donnell ’81 Faculty Fellowship.
Originating 45 years ago in the agricultural economics department, the program has grown in size, recognition and popularity. Since then, it has migrated to the Department of Finance at Mays Business School, developed a diverse course structure, and formed an advisory board of real estate professionals.
Graduates go to work in a variety of careers, from real estate development to lending and capital markets. All leave with enhanced knowledge of finance, real estate law, economics, market analysis and negotiation.
“If Mays wants to excel and provide the best education for our students, we have to offer more: specialized degrees, program enhancements and affordable tuition,” said Donnell. “These funds allow us to enhance a student’s educational opportunities by bringing industry leaders into the classroom, sending students to attend industry events or allowing them to participate in competitions.
What everyone should understand when donating to Texas A&M University is that all funding ultimately helps bring a top-notch educational experience to our students at an affordable cost. My Texas A&M education prepared me for success in the real estate market and I hope to bring the same opportunity to these young people in our program.”
By Ashley Wagner ‘18