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CHICAGO-George L. Ruff, co-founder and senior principal of New York City-based Trinity Hotel Investors, has donated $1.5 million to establish a professorship in real estate studies at DePaul University of Chicago’s Real Estate Center. The Ruff-endowed professorship is designed to allow the center to attract scholars who will teach complex real estate and urban planning issues from non-traditional perspectives.

Specifically, it will create one- to two-year faculty positions for professors from a variety of disciplines, such as anthropology, sociology, geography or public policy. “It will allow us to produce real estate professionals who understand that building communities requires knowledge of a wide range of issues related to real estate, from environmental protection, historic preservation and legal considerations, to transportation, taxation, politics and access to schools and employment,” says Susanne Cannon, finance professor and the Douglas and Cynthia Crocker-endowed director of the center.

Ruff is a 1974 cum laude graduate of DePaul. During his 30-year career in international real estate, hotel investment and operations, he has engineered, negotiated and close more than $3 billion in transactions. Through the gift, Ruff says, “I wanted to thank DePaul and help the next generation of real estate leaders succeed through exposure to rising academic stars who will diversity they education.”

Ruff is also a founding sponsor and member of the fundraising committee for the Real Estate Center, which opened in 2002. This gift follows a $2-million donation a year ago from Douglas Crocker II, retired CEO of locally based Equity Residential Properties Trust, and his wife, Cynthia, which endowed the directorship of the center.

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