Editors’ Note: This feature appears as it was published in the summer 2019 edition of UT Dallas Magazine. Titles or faculty members listed may have changed since that time.
Donna and Herb Weitzman
North Texas real estate icon Herb Weitzman and his wife, Donna, believe 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 UT Dallas will help ensure that real estate students learn those lessons and put them into action in their careers.
The Weitzmans’ gift will establish the Herbert D. Weitzman Institute for Real Estate at the Jindal School.
Herb Weitzman is founder and executive chairman of Weitzman, which operates full-service corporate real estate offices across Texas. 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 Weitzman Institute will provide scholarships for eligible undergraduate finance and business administration students pursuing a concentration in real estate.
“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 said he is grateful 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.”
“We 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,” he said. “If somebody has the passion and gets a good mentor, the sky’s the limit.”
Weitzman’s father planted the idea in his 4-year-old son’s mind of pursuing real estate as a career when they would walk the neighborhood to collect rent from tenants every month. Weitzman’s mother, who operated the dry-goods store she owned with her husband, taught him about entrepreneurship and running a customer-focused business when he helped her in the shop on Saturdays.
Weitzman 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.”