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Jun.June 06, 2022 02:30 PM

Roger Williams University Announces Launch of Cummings Institute for Real Estate

New Best-In-Class Interdisciplinary Real Estate Programs

RWU has campuses in Bristol and Providence, Rhode Island.

Roger Williams University announces a historic $20 million partnership with Cummings Foundation, the largest in Roger Williams’ history. In recognition of this transformative philanthropic partnership, President Ioannis N. Miaoulis announced that the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation will be rededicated as the Cummings School of Architecture, along with the newly launched Cummings Institute for Real Estate, to honor a real estate trailblazer who will inspire RWU students pursuing similar career trajectories. 

“Powered by this historic partnership, the Cummings School and the Cummings Institute for Real Estate will serve as a catalyst for the university’s continued and growing success in preparing our students to be leaders in all facets of sustainable and equitable design, preservation, and development at the intersection of the natural and built environments. Expanding our existing world-class programs with new depth and breadth of Real Estate aligns perfectly with Bill’s professional legacy and the entrepreneurial spirit of Bill and the entire Cummings Foundation,” said RWU President Ioannis N. Miaoulis. “This is a best-in-class program offering a distinctive combination of architecture, real estate, preservation and planning bolstered by further integration with business, legal, construction and engineering expertise from across the university.” 

“RWU is dedicated to building a thriving workforce across all industries and providing real-world learning opportunities for its students to have community impact throughout their careers. That kind of entrepreneurial spirit is exactly what is needed to be successful in work and life, and it aligns so naturally with our mission at Cummings Foundation to promote and empower the social and economic inclusion of all,” said Bill Cummings.

This partnership comes as the School of Architecture celebrates its 35th anniversary with an expansion of programming. RWU’s Real Estate Program, championed by Trustee and alumnus Todd Rechler, is quickly evolving into a signature program for the university. A graduate certificate in Real Estate will launch in Fall 2022, with planning underway for integrated undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 2023. RWU is among only 14 universities in the country – and one of three in the northeast – that can meet the challenges of multi-faceted design, preservation, real estate and related career paths, with a portfolio of academic programs in architecture, preservation, undergraduate business and MBA programs, a school of engineering and construction management, and a law school, preparing students with a deep knowledge of the natural and built environments, grounded in an innovative framework of social impact, sustainability, and community planning. 

Along with the launch of new Real Estate degrees, minors and certificates, RWU’s Cummings School of Architecture and Cummings Institute for Real Estate will continue providing students with high-impact educational experiences and courses taught by the best educators and practitioners, outstanding study abroad opportunities, internships and career pathways with leading firms from Boston to New York City, and around the country, including several of the Top 50 firms recognized annually by Architect magazine. Additionally, 100 percent of Architecture and Preservation Practices graduate students participate in the Career Investment Program, guaranteeing paid student internships off campus with firms, organizations and government agencies, and assistantships on campus with faculty.  

Rechler, the chief construction and development officer of RXR, serves on the university’s Real Estate Advisory Board and provided a generous gift to fund the program development, which will be offered through the Cummings Institute for Real Estate. RXR is a leading real estate owner, investor, operator, and developer committed to building socially, economically, and environmentally responsible communities. Recent signature projects include the design of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and renovation of the iconic Grand Central Station. 

“Roger Williams University is poised to be a nationally recognized leader in real estate education. With superlative programs in construction management, engineering, architecture, business, natural sciences and law, RWU has all the components of a first-class real estate program,” Rechler said. “Even more, as an RWU alum, I know the depth of character the community demands and am proud that RWU will educate the next generation of industry leaders.”

Architecture, preservation, and real estate professionals work in industries that are major national economic drivers for the country. They face a host of challenges that range from public-private partnerships, to navigating tax credits, to zoning and regulatory matters, all while building sustainably with an eye to climate change and sea level rise and addressing socioeconomic and housing inequalities. The Cummings School of Architecture and Cummings Institute for Real Estate will further accelerate the university’s success in preparing students to be leaders in sustainable and equitable design and development at the intersection of the natural and built environments.


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