huntsman
Photo: Kasra Koushan / The Daily Pennsylvanian

This month, the Wharton School welcomed a new program to its Real Estate Department.

Announced on April 4, the Grayken Program in International Real Estate will be based in the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center. The program is funded by donations from 1978 College graduate John Grayken, who is the founder of the private equity firm Lone Star Funds.

“The Grayken gift will allow the Wharton Real Estate program to be a truly global program,” said Joseph Gyourko, a professor of real estate, finance and business economics and public policy. Gyourko is also the director of the Zell and Lurie Real Estate Center.

“I’ve been impressed by the Zell/Lurie Center’s faculty and programs, including their annual London event, which brings together real estate industry leaders from around the world,” Grayken said in the press release. “It’s a pleasure to help Joe Gyourko and his team build on these successes and expand Wharton’s global activities in the field.”

According to the Wharton press release, the Grayken Program will increase academic programming for students and faculty research.

“We have built a program that allows us to do three things: educates students, helps faculty do research and allows students and faculty to engage with leaders in the industry on neutral ground,” Gyourko said. “The Grayken gift allows us to do what we already do domestically and now do it globally.

Gyourko added that since the gift is so new, there are few specific plans that have been made on how to use the funds. One confirmed proposal is for the Real Estate Department to hire two full-time assistants to aid faculty with international research projects.

Because the Grayken Program is so new, some Wharton students — including those concentrating in real estate — said they had not heard about it when asked.

Wharton Dean and management professor Geoffrey Garrett said in the press release that, “[Grayken] is helping us expand the depth and reach of our programming in global real estate — from students who aspire to become real estate leaders, to alumni and executives around the world driving and defining the industry to faculty whose research is shaping how academics and professionals understand one of the world’s most important industries.”

Wharton MBA student Eduardo San Martin is an international student from Spain who plans to pursue a career in real estate in London after he graduates. He will also be attending Wharton’s real estate event in London on May 24 at the Royal Automobile Club.

He described how Wharton’s international real estate network, including the Grayken Program, would allow him to “meet business leaders from London, in London.”

“Having those resources being provided by the University is a game-changer,” he said.

All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.