Each year, the Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth University holds its annual Leadership Excellence Award Dinner to recognize contributions to the state of New Jersey, and the nation, produced through a career in real estate. At this year’s event, held June 2 at the West Long Branch campus, The Kislak Co. Inc. Chief Operating Officer Jason Pucci made an announcement that also acknowledges the importance of those professional endeavors.
Pucci said The Kislak Family Foundation pledged $2 million to establish a permanent endowed directorship for the Institute. The Jay I. Kislak Endowed Director recognizes the memory of the late Jay Kislak, who first earned his real estate license as a high school student at Newark Academy before, later in life, earning a degree in economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He entered the family business in 1945.
“Jay Kislak was a patron of education and ideas,” said Pucci. “His ongoing commitment to Monmouth University allowed him to forge a living legacy by helping to develop students who will become the next generation of real estate professionals. The Kislak Family Foundation is proud to support the strategic vision of the Institute, and to facilitate regional growth, development, sustainability, and socially responsive impact.”
Kislak moved to Miami in the early 1950s and established “what would become one of the country’s largest privately held mortgage banks,” Monmouth University said in an announcement about the endowment. He originated and serviced loans across the U.S. for 40 years, serving as chairman of the Kislak Organization until his death in 2018 when he was 96.
“This significant endowment builds on the firm foundation the Kislak family established in 2006,” said Monmouth University President Patrick Leahy. “This gift will support the teaching, scholarship, and service that will be vital to the future of the Kislak Real Estate Institute and will meet the needs of aspiring real estate professionals. The continued generosity of the Kislak Family Foundation also ensures that the Institute will be well positioned to facilitate and address opportunities for economic and societal impact of real estate in our region and beyond.”
The Kislak Real Estate Institute – housed within the Leon Hess Business School – was founded at Monmouth University in 2006 with the help of a “generous and transformational gift.” According to Monmouth, the school and the Kislak Foundation were responsible for establishing the first credit-bearing academic real estate program in the state. At the time in was just one of 65 in the country; now, enrolling almost 170 students, it is one of 100 such programs nationwide.
The Kislak Family Foundation has provided ongoing support for the Institute. In 2020, it made a $1 million pledge to provide need-based scholarships for undergraduate students in pursuit of a business degree with a concentration in real estate. At that time, it also donated $100,000 to sponsor Monmouth’s annual intercollegiate real estate competition, which awards cash prizes to winning teams.d