In Memoriam: Stan Ross, Chair Emeritus, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate
This is the essence of Stan — he made everyone he touched better, both professionally and personally.
Dear USC Price School and Lusk Center Family,
I would like to share again some thoughts I had about Stan Ross when he moved to Chair Emeritus status last year. I think they are appropriate as we memorialize his wonderful life: Stan Ross has made my life better. I am sure there are thousands of people who would say the same thing. This is the essence of Stan — he made everyone he touched better, both professionally and personally. It was my privilege to see this up close for nine years.
Let us begin with the Lusk Center. When he became Chairman in 1999, he saw the potential in having a real estate brand attached to the University of Southern California. He developed a strategy for developing that potential: the assembly of a strong advisory board of real estate professionals, who would find value in the exposure to first rate applied academic research, to our students and to each other. The venues for these exposures – primarily the Lusk Board meetings and Lusk Retreat – have proven successful to the point where I know many of you look forward to them every year. At the same time, your generous support and personal involvement allow us to generate research and programs that provide business insights, as well as offer student services that produce people that you want to hire.
Another reason you came to our events was, of course, Stan himself, whose thoughtful comments assured that no matter what else happened, you would get what he called “takeaway value.”
Stan also saw the need to bring people into our business who traditionally had not participated in it — women and people of color. He thus became a personal and financial champion of what came to be called the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate (RMPIRE), which more than 900 people have up until now completed. He understood that such a program is not just a moral imperative, but also a business imperative, as the composition of the country, as well as work roles, change. This reflects Stan’s ability to look strategically at the business.
Stan was also a marvelous teacher for us in the Dollinger MRED program, and was a Distinguished Fellow of the Price School. Distinguished Fellow, a title that the university bestows sparingly, reflects the university’s esteem for Stan’s integrity, intelligence, and inspirational contributions. One of the many things that made Stan so special was that he deeply internalized the belief that the world involves repeated interactions with people — that one’s ability to make a deal that leaves all participants better off is the key to surviving through real estate’s inevitable cycles. As he pointed out so eloquently, if you make a deal that leaves your counterparty worse off, you have not made a good deal.
I shall miss him very much.
Richard K. Green
Lusk Chair in Real Estate
Professor, Price School of Public Policy and Marshall School of Business
University of Southern California