The Texas A&M Foundation recognized Cydney Donnell, executive professor of finance and director of real estate programs in Mays Business School, as the 2018 Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award recipient for her continued efforts to support and fundraise for the Texas A&M University Master of Real Estate program. Donnell received the award at a reception on April 27.

Cydney Donnell

Cydney Donnell ’81, executive professor of finance and director of real estate programs, was named the 2018 recipient of the Texas A&M Foundation’s Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award for her commitment and generosity to Mays Business School.

The Foundation established the Partner in Philanthropy Faculty Award in 2016 to celebrate faculty members who demonstrate dedicated and lasting participation, commitment and creative leadership to philanthropy and Texas A&M University. This accolade acknowledges faculty efforts to build long-term productive relationships between the university, former students and other private partners in philanthropy.

To be selected, faculty must be nominated by a member of the Texas A&M Foundation development staff. Brian Bishop ’91, Texas A&M Foundation assistant vice president for development for Mays Business School, nominated Donnell for the award.

“Cydney is such a treasured asset to Mays Business School,” said Bishop. “Not only is she a tremendous leader of our Master of Real Estate program, but she is also willing to step up and contribute significant financial support to the program for the betterment of our students’ education and the future of the program.”

A legacy of giving

In 2002, Donnell created the Cydney C. Donnell ’81 Real Estate Excellence Fund with a $50,000 gift through the Texas A&M Foundation. In 2014, she elevated her gift to a faculty fellowship in support of the Master of Real Estate program. Distributions from this endowment are used at the discretion of the director of the Master of Real Estate program to support and advance the program. That same year, she also gave an additional $750,000 to be used to match contributions of $25,000 or more in support of the Master of Real Estate program.

The Master of Real Estate program gives students the fundamental knowledge of commercial real estate. The program’s concentration on finance, real estate law, economics, market analysis and negotiations allows students to explore the industry as they develop their skills and contacts. The program is ranked the No. 5 Master of Real Estate program in the U.S. and No. 10 globally by BestMasters.com.

Donnell has advocated for others to support Mays Business School and academics across the board at Texas A&M, calling it an investment that “ultimately helps bring a top-notch educational experience to students at an affordable cost.”

“I’ve had a very fulfilling career in commercial real estate, and Mays helped prepare me for that,” said Donnell. “It’s important to me to develop and strengthen the pipeline for others to enter the industry.”

In keeping with her philosophy, Donnell has decided to direct the $10,000 Partner in Philanthropy monetary award back to the Master of Real Estate program to create scholarships for students studying in the program.

Donnell graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BBA in finance from Texas A&M in 1981. She was named Outstanding Business Student in 1979 and graduated with an MBA from Southern Methodist University in 1982. She has been an executive professor at Texas A&M since August 2004 and has received the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts Industry Achievement Award for her work in real estate. She is also a 2017 Outstanding Alumnus of Mays Business School and holds the Julio S. LaGuarta Professorship in Real Estate.

“The Texas A&M Foundation wanted to commend Cydney’s legacy of leadership and philanthropy,” said Randy Cain ’82, chairman of the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees. “Her devotion to the Master of Real Estate program is unparalleled. Mays Business School is lucky to have such an ardent supporter on its faculty, and we hope this award brings to light all of her contributions.”

Texas A&M Foundation 

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that unites generosity and vision to raise and manage major endowed gifts that support the future of Texas A&M University. For additional information and for photographs, please contact Molly Kulpa at mkulpa@txamfoundation.com or (979) 845-7463.

By Molly Kulpa, Texas A&M Foundation