North Texas real estate icon Herb Weitzman and his wife, Donna, say mentorships, an entrepreneurial mindset and a customer-centric focus are the keys to building a successful real estate career. Their $3 million gift to the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas will help ensure that real estate students learn those lessons and put them into action in their careers.
Herb Weitzman is founder and executive chairman of Weitzman, which operates full-service corporate real estate offices in all of the major Texas markets, including Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. Donna Weitzman, an entrepreneur, dating expert, author and podcaster, also has had an accomplished real estate career. She formerly served as Colleyville, Texas, mayor and city council member.
The Weitzmans’ gift will establish the Herbert D. Weitzman Institute for Real Estate at the Jindal School. Dr. Hasan Pirkul, Caruth Chair and dean of the Jindal School, announced the news during the 2018 Scholarship Breakfast, which serves as the school’s annual fundraiser, to a record audience of more than 500 guests. Since its inception, the breakfast has raised more than $700,000 for scholarships.
“You made a difference, Herb and Donna,” Pirkul said at the breakfast. “You have ensured that real estate will continue to play a critical leading role in our school and in our university, and we will continue to produce graduates and provide education in such an important field. Real estate and the Jindal School are going to be synonymous as we go forward.”
The Weitzman Institute will provide scholarships for eligible undergraduate finance and business administration students pursuing a concentration in real estate. The Jindal School already has a tradition of taking a leadership role nationally in providing financial aid to students.
“The (Jindal School) is one of the best in the country,” Donna Weitzman said. “So why wouldn’t we want to be associated with winners? That’s the way we looked at it.”
Herb Weitzman expressed gratitude for being able to build a career in Dallas and to build and maintain professional relationships with the visionaries who helped form the city. His and Donna’s vision for the institute, he said, is a “phenomenal opportunity” to show real estate students and graduates how to continue building “the greatest city in the country.”
For Dr. Randall Guttery, director of the Jindal School’s real estate curriculums and clinical professor of finance and managerial economics, the Weitzmans’ gift has special significance. He has been a friend and advisor to Herb Weitzman for years.
“Herb told me he wants this to be a legacy gift,” Guttery said. “He wants to help the next generation and generations to come. His and Donna’s generosity will help ensure that will happen in perpetuity.”
Weitzman said real estate can offer much to those who make a career of it.
“(Donna and I) hope that more and more people want to get into real estate as their vocation and then eventually open their own companies to be entrepreneurial.”
In 1961, leading Dallas real estate exemplar Henry S. Miller began mentoring Weitzman. Miller helped him launch his real estate career and groomed him for business ownership.
Before the breakfast, he said his goal in establishing the institute was to enable students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to consider real estate as a career option and to offer them the academic support and tools they need.
“A program that trains our future leaders offers the potential of reshaping the North Texas community in a positive way for decades to come,” he said. “I’m honored to be able to contribute to that promise.”
This article originally ran in UT-Dallas' Momentum magazine.