The James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business is pleased to announce $250,000 gift from Walker & Dunlop and Wisconsin Real Estate alumni James Cope and Patrick Dempsey, who are members of the Walker & Dunlop management team in Milwaukee. The gift supports the Center’s Innovator Award and includes a new MBA student scholarship. Inspired by late Professor James A. Graaskamp, the center’s namesake and a pillar of the Wisconsin Tradition in Real Estate, the Innovator Award reflects the long and distinguished tradition behind the real estate and urban economics program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We have been innovative in our teaching, in our research, and through the accomplishments of our alumni and practitioners – all dedicated to making a positive impact in our community and beyond. The Innovator Award recipients embody the spirit of the Wisconsin real estate tradition in innovation,” said Irgens Executive Director Michael Brennan, also managing principal of Brennan Investment Group, Chicago.
The Graaskamp Center and the Wisconsin Real Estate Program are well known in the real estate industry and have inspired many of today’s great real estate professionals, said Graaskamp Center Academic Director Tim Riddiough. “The center is strong today and will be strong tomorrow because of the support of industry leaders like Jim Cope, Pat Dempsey and Walker & Dunlop,” he stated.
This generous gift contributes to the strength of the Wisconsin Real Estate Program which is consistently ranked as a top program by U.S. News and World Report. It also gives the Graaskamp Center a clear strategic advantage by ensuring funds are available to support innovative students and industry leaders.
Q & A with James Cope
What inspired you, Pat Dempsey and Walker & Dunlop to support the Graaskamp Center’s Innovator Award?
The inspiration for Pat and I is to give back to an educational platform that supports the Graaskamp ideals that inspired and guided us into and throughout our careers in real estate. The inspiration for Walker & Dunlop is to support an award that represents the important part of the culture of our company which is to innovate. In addition, the scholarship will help attract the best and the brightest students to the Wisconsin Real Estate Program.
As an alumni of the program, what are the greatest benefits you’ve received from the Graaskamp Center and the Wisconsin Real Estate Program?
The greatest benefits Pat and I have received are an exceptional educational foundation in real estate which has aided us greatly in the development and operation of a successful real estate services business. Equally as important are the relationships established through the Real Estate Alumni network that have helped us establish and grow the friendships, business partnerships and valued clients which are the backbone of our business.
The future of real estate depends on preparing the next generation of professionals with the skills and insights they need to excel. What advice would you give to a young professional considering a career in real estate?
Keep an open mind as to what area of real estate to pursue. The area you end up in may be the last one you would of thought but could be the best fit and extremely rewarding. This scenario is what happened to us. Also, remember spend time each day building relationships as they will help open doors that will change your life for the better.
About Walker & Dunlop
Founded in 1937, Walker & Dunlop is one of the largest commercial real estate lenders in the United States. The company has differentiated itself from the competition through its deep industry knowledge, experienced team of financing professionals, scaled lending platform, and exceptional customer service. Since going public at the end of 2010, it has delivered strong, consistent shareholder returns and outperformed the broader markets. Between 2010 and 2015, Walker & Dunlop carefully strengthened, scaled and diversified our lending platform with a focus on recruiting talented professionals and acquiring great businesses. This included successfully integrating four companies, which allowed us to meet the needs of the market, expand our client base, and grow our footprint without compromising the culture and expertise that our clients had come to expect from Walker & Dunlop.
About the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate
With a real estate program ranked consistently as one of the top public programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report, the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the Wisconsin School of Business is a world-renowned program that prides itself on academic excellence, a commitment to ethics, and providing real-world experiences for its students. Established in 1920, the Graaskamp Center was one of the first real estate programs in the nation. Today, it proudly educates students from all walks of life with its nationally recognized undergraduate, MBA, and Global Real Estate Master programs.