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LOS ANGELES-Chairman Stan Ross of USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate and his wife Marilyn have donated $1 million to endow a minority real estate development training program aimed at revitalizing inner-city neighborhoods.

The university says it will use the gift to expand its minority real estate program, which will now be called the USC Stan and Marilyn Ross Minority Program in Real Estate. The program, which began in 1992, teaches business professionals the fundamental skills needed to develop affordable housing, retail, mixed-use, offices and community facilities in underserved communities. Students who are enrolled in the program, which is conducted at USC’s Marshall School of Business and is administered by the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, hold undergraduate or graduate degrees, but wish to improve their knowledge of real estate finance and development.

Ross, who is one of several instructors for the course, says it presents an opportunity “to increase diversity among future leaders in the real estate industry” while developing struggling communities.

The program’s graduates have backgrounds in real estate brokerage, finance, law, architecture, engineering, commercial development, home building, government and non-profit community-based organizations. Alumni have built affordable housing in several states, redeveloped neglected neighborhoods, helped first-time homebuyers obtain mortgages and brought shopping centers to underserved areas.

According to Lusk Center director Stuart Gabriel, PhD, preliminary plans call for the Lusk Center to form relationships with leaders from national professional organizations, public agencies and the community development industry around the country in order to expand the program.

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