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(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

ORLANDO, FL-Randy I. Anderson, a local commercial real estate researcher and investor, has been selected for the inaugural Howard Phillips Eminent Scholar Chair at the University of Central Florida. The chair endowment was partially funded by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

In this new role, Anderson will direct the research and education institute for the Phillips School of Real Estate within the UCF College of Business Administration. His goal is to build the Orlando-based program into one of the nation’s top-ten real estate schools within the next five years.

“Randy’s unique background of working, teaching and conducting research within the real estate industry will benefit the program immensely,” Thomas L. Keon, UCF business school dean, stated in a release. “I am confident that he will help this new program grow, and that he will serve as a great mentor to our real estate students.”

Anderson has been in the real estate business since 1991, as owner of 1776 Financial Services, a boutique investment banking firm in Winter Park, FL, near Orlando. The company provides debt, mezzanine and equity financing for projects nationwide, and is also involved in developing and acquiring multifamily properties in the Southeast.

Before launching his own firm, Anderson was president of CNL Real Estate Advisors in Orlando, overseeing such areas as research, origination, acquisition, finance and management. The University of Alabama finance graduate also served previously as Ryder Eminent Scholar Chair and professor of real estate/finance at Florida International University, as well as chief economist and director of research for Marcus & Millichap.

UCF’s real estate chair is supported by a $5-million endowment from state and local gifts. The endowment also supports a real estate scholarship program at the college, which has nearly 200 students either majoring or minoring in the undergraduate program.

The Central Florida chapter of NAIOP has committed $600,000 toward a second real estate faculty position at UCF honoring Jim Heistand, majority owner of Orlando-based Eola Capital. Additional donations have been made by local commercial real estate firms including Taurus Southern Investments, CB Richard Ellis, Duke Construction and Highwoods Properties.

“At this point, we need more folks to follow their lead,” says Terry Delahunty, president of NAIOP Central Florida and a partner in Foley & Lardner’s Orlando law office. “We are currently seeking additional investment in the chair.”

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