The Harvard Design School announces that it has awarded its first ever Visionary Leadership in Real Estate Award to Gerald D. Hines, founder and chairman of the international real estate firm that bears his name. The award was established to honor the lifetime accomplishments of extraordinary leaders in the real estate industry and their contributions to real estate education at Harvard University and the built environment at large.
Mr. Hines was nominated for the award by Richard Peiser, who is the Michael D. Spear Professor in Real Estate Development at Harvard. The International Advisory Board of the Real Estate Academic Initiative (REAI) enthusiastically approved the nomination of Mr. Hines for this honor. The REAI supports interdisciplinary research at Harvard in the field of real estate and urban development, and helps build the community of faculty, students and alumni who are active in the real estate industry. The five primary schools that participate in the initiative are the Business School, Design School, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which includes the undergraduate college.
To celebrate the award, a student reception at Harvard's Knafel Building was held. In attendance were real estate organizations from both Harvard and MIT. Students were able to visit one-on-one with Mr. Hines, and received a copy of his biography "Hines: A Legacy of Quality in the Built Environment." Following the reception was a fireside-chat forum in the Sackler Auditorium, which was open to the public. Professor Peiser prompted Mr. Hines to discuss his career, leadership in bringing great architecture into commercial development, leadership in sustainable development, and also building one of the most successful international real estate organizations in the world. Mr. Hines' son, Jeff Hines, who is President and CEO of the firm, joined his father on stage and shared memories about his early days working in the Hines organization, taking over the leadership with his father still being a very strong presence, and the addition of fund investment to development in the company's focus.
As a close to the event, Mr. Hines was presented a crystal sculpture by Joe O'Connor, the first chairman of the REAI and a personal friend. Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Mohsen Mostafavi, presented Mr. Hines with a proclamation on behalf of the University which read: "In recognition of his exceptional contributions to higher education in real estate, his innovations in office buildings and mixed-use development, his commitment to design excellence, his inspiration to generations of real estate professionals, both in his own company and in other organizations, and his unique impact on the built environment throughout the world."