In Memorium: The Graaskamp Center Loses a Great Alumnus and Friend
We are sad to announce the passing of longtime friend, alumnus and Graaskamp Board member Fred Petri (BBA ’69, MBA ’70). Fred died at his home in Hillsborough, California on May 4th, 2021, after a 15-year battle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Fred founded Petrone, Petri & Company in San Mateo, California, and his role as president was part of a long and distinguished career in real estate. The real estate investment company he and partner Dave Petrone launched in 1993 followed a distinguished career as an executive for Wells Fargo. Fred also served as president and co-founder of Housing Capital Company, a joint venture with US Bancorp. He was a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and a former member of the board of governors and vice president of the National Association of Real Estate Trusts.
Bob Peltzman, a colleague and friend of Fred’s as well as fellow Real Estate alum recently shared that “Fred was one the most well-connected and respected real estate professionals in the nation. As head of Wells Fargo real estate lending, Fred provided loans to most of the nation’s most prominent real estate developers. His personal relationships were wide and deep; and those who knew him respected and loved him.”
Fred believed in giving back has had a significant positive impact on the Wisconsin Real Estate Program and the entire Business Badger community shared in his generosity. Fred joined the Wisconsin Naming Partnership at the Wisconsin School of Business in 2019, bringing the total of the innovative philanthropic gift to 17 donors and $110 million.
Fred was an avid supporter of Graaskamp Center and was instrumental in guiding it after Graaskamp’s death through to when the Center was renamed in 2007. One of Fred’s biggest impacts was in launching the Graaskamp Center’s signature applied learning program, the Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT), which he co-founded with his friends, Jim Curtis, and EJ Plesko. Launched in 2000 as the first program of its kind at a university, the program offers graduate Real Estate students the opportunity to manage a real multimillion-dollar portfolio of real estate stocks. Today, AREIT has become a distinguishing feature of the Graaskamp Center’s academic experience. The program continues to reinforce Wisconsin Real Estate Program’s strong reputation for applied learning experiences.
“Fred’s input and dedication was so valuable,” says Tim Riddiough (BBA ’81, M.S. ’84, Ph.D. ’91), Chair of the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. “He enjoyed participating in the Graaskamp Center Advisory Board and was a true leader and did everything he could to move the Wisconsin School of Business forward.”