The Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame will posthumously induct the late Herb Tousley, who headed the University of St. Thomas’ nationally renowned real estate program from 2014 until his death in January 2020.

The university has otherwise postponed its annual induction of Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame members due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Event organizers will keep the nominations they have received so far in 2020, and they encourage more nominations for next year’s event, which will be held in November 2021.

Tousley’s legacy

Tousley was a commercial real estate veteran with decades of experience and more than $80 million in developed properties to his name when he became an adjunct real estate professor in the Opus College of Business at St. Thomas in 2003. A popular instructor with a passion for educating upcoming real estate professionals, Tousley was appointed director of the master’s degree in real estate and the Shenehon Center for Real Estate in 2009. In 2014, Tousley was promoted to head of the department, the only program in the Twin Cities that offers both an undergraduate degree and a graduate certificate in real estate.

Under Tousley’s leadership, the real estate program eventually doubled its enrollment, and in 2019 it was ranked sixth in the nation. Tousley continued to teach undergraduate and graduate classes, and he oversaw the university’s Shenehon Center for Real Estate, which initiated the annual Minnesota Affordable Housing Conference, operates the Hall of Fame and publishes monthly housing and semiannual trends reports. In 2018, Tousley was called a Minnesota Icon by Finance & Commerce, and last year he was named a distinguished fellow at the NAIOP Research Foundation, one of the commercial real estate industry’s leading think tanks.

Now St. Thomas is seeking an additional way to honor Tousley and his legacy, according to Robert Strachota, co-chair of the university’s Real Estate Advisory Board and a longtime Tousley friend. “The Real Estate Advisory Board and Hall of Fame planning committee are developing a plan to endow a chair in real estate in Herb’s name,” he said. “Herb was very focused on ethics and teaching young people how to do things the right way. By endowing a chair in his honor, we can help ensure his legacy of serving the community with the highest integrity.”

“As interim director of the real estate program, I have been so impressed to view Herb’s achievements up close,” said Professor Mary Schmid Daugherty, who teaches finance at the Opus College of Business. “Not only did he work hard to develop the best possible curriculum, he was tireless in his efforts to mentor students and ensure they received exceptional opportunities, such as our annual Stofer/Stensby scholarship competition. Herb’s contributions in business and education were profound.”

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