Herb Tousley speaks at the Minnesota Affordable Housing Conference in Opus Hall on May 22, 2013.

Please Remember in Your Prayers Professor Herb Tousley

Please remember in your prayers Herb Tousley, professor and director of The Real Estate program and The Shenehon Center for Real Estate in the Opus College of Business, who died Jan. 30.

A service is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Rd., Mahtomedi. Visitation is scheduled from 10-11:30 a.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to The Herb Tousley Real Estate Education Fund at St. Thomas at give.stthomas.edu.

“Herb was a champion for real estate education and for real estate students at St. Thomas,” said Stefanie Lenway, Opus College of Business dean.

“Herb was just such a great guy. He was a great educator, really student focused, and exemplified that St. Thomas devotion to students,” said Michael Garrison, associate dean for Opus College of Business. “He was also just a really good colleague and did so many things in his time here.”

Tousley was preceded in death by his father, Herbert W. Tousley Jr. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Jill Lambert Tousley; three children, Herbert W. Tousley IV (Kristi), Meghan Tousley (Ben Threinen), and Alexandra Schack (Brian); mother, Ann Luther; brother, Richard Tousley (Lesette), and sister, Sue Keswani (Ashwini). Known as Papa to his five grandchildren, Griffin (5), Harrison (5), Rory (3), Gwenyth (1) and Theodore (1).

'A champion of his students'

A White Bear Lake native and veritable giant in the Minnesota real estate industry, Tousley earned his MBA at St. Thomas in 2002 and has taught real estate courses in the Opus College of Business since 2003. In 2009, he was appointed director of the MS Degree in Real Estate and Shenehon Center for Real Estate.

Tousley brought with him a wealth of knowledge and connections from his years in the commercial real estate industry, and he worked tirelessly to provide students exemplary opportunities and experiences.

“He was so generous with his students and his colleagues,” said David Vang, professor of finance and a colleague of Tousley’s. “He was always someone who rolled up his sleeves and helped out with whatever he could.”

The range of what that help looked like was vast: Tousley “was the backbone of the real estate program,” said Kathy Combs, chair of the Finance Department, because he led nearly everything in a program that in 2018 was ranked as the sixth-highest in the country. Beyond developing all the curriculum for both undergraduate and graduate courses, Tousley was instrumental in raising scholarship funds for students, including the Boyd Stofer and Ken Stensby Real Estate Student Competition, which awards scholarships to students for their winning real estate related business concepts. He was also a mentor and adviser to students and student teams: Last year, one of his teams finished second in the Colvin Real Estate Competition at the University of Maryland, a national competition with more than 25 teams competing from around the country.

“He’s been so central in the interface among the university, the students and the real estate industry, it’s hard to get your head around,” Combs added. “He was a champion of his students.”

‘Active in the community’

Tousley was a professor well-connected and well-regarded across the professional real estate industry. He was a leader and member of many organizations, including serving on the board of directors of the Minnesota chapter of the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute and on CoreNet Minnesota, NAIOP and the Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal. Tousley received multiple awards and recognition for his professional service: He recently was named a NAIOP Research Foundation Distinguished Fellow for 2020, and in 2019, was honored by Finance & Commerce and Minnesota Lawyer as one of the recipients of the inaugural Minnesota ICON awards as a leader in his field who served his community and mentored the next generation.

A fixture for many media outlets for his real estate expertise, Tousley also was involved in the highly visible publications the Shenehon Center produced, including the Minneapolis/St. Paul Residential Real Estate Index, a monthly report about the state of the Twin Cities housing market; and the Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Survey, a semi-annual, forward-looking sentiment survey of local industry leaders. Tousley also helped start the Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame in 2010.

“He was just so entirely active in the community,” Combs said. “It’s hard to even understand everything he’s done, because it’s so prolific.”