By: Marc Ransford—
Ball State University unveiled today its Weidner Center for Residential Property Management, thanks to a $1 million gift from one of the largest apartment owners in the United States.
Dean Weidner, owner of Weidner Apartment Homes, wants his gift to elevate Ball State’s residential property management (RPM) program to national status. The donation will help expand the program, which includes establishing the center.
Located on the first floor of the renovated Applied Technology Building, the Weidner Center features interview rooms, a resource desk and a lobby with video monitors for marketing the program and industry.
“It’s in a high-visibility area of the building, which will allow us to showcase what we do with current students as well as campus visitors,” said Erin Donovan, program director. “It’s exciting to receive this level of financial backing as a show of support.”
Donovan wants to increase the number of undergraduate students in the program to 100 from the current 50 majors within five years. As demand for rental housing in the U.S. has surged, so has the need for college-educated graduates who can manage multimillion-dollar apartment communities, she explained.
That means graduates of Ball State’s RPM program, the only one in the state, are “coming out of school with as many as five job offers, in places all over the country.”
Students take courses in property management, senior housing, government-assisted housing, marketing, leasing and apartment financial management. They must also complete internships. Since 2013, about 50 Ball State students have interned with or been hired by Weidner, a Washington state-based company with property holdings throughout the Western U.S. and Canada.
Ball State’s residential property management program began in 1999 and was the country’s second university-based RPM program. Today it offers undergraduate, graduate and online courses. Plans are underway to offer an introduction to commercial real estate management course in spring 2016.
Marc Ransford is senior media strategist, Division of Strategic Communications, at Ball State University