Malin and Roberta Burnham Make $2.3 Million Leadership Gift to Support USD School of Business Real Estate Students and Faculty

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Photo of Heather Riley, Esq., Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate policy advisory board member

On Sept. 19, 2019, The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate (BMC), within the University of San Diego School of Business, announced a $2.3 million leadership gift from real estate icon and San Diego native Malin Burnham, founder of Burnham Foundation, and his wife Roberta. The gift is provided to the BMC and will support USD School of Business real estate student scholarships, real estate faculty and the general mission of the center. Burnham is a long-time supporter of USD’s real estate program and serves as an Emeritus policy advisory board member at the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. 

The announcement was made this morning in front of more than 300 real estate industry executives at the BMC’s Breakfast at the BMC Lecture Series event held on the University’s campus. USD President James T. Harris III made the announcement about the Burnham leadership gift as part of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s Campaign for 2020.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $10 million, which will serve the mission of the Burnham-Moores Center, including new scholarship endowment funds to attract the most qualified real estate students to USD and funding to enhance the ability to recruit and retain the nation’s top faculty in real estate. To date $3.4 million has been raised. Burnham’s gift will be leveraged to raise additional funds in support of the Campaign for 2020Read the Campaign Case Statement.

“Roberta and I have been so impressed with what the leadership of the Burnham-Moores Center has been able to accomplish over the years with the support of the USD School of Business,” says Burnham. “The way the center engages with the San Diego real estate community, for the benefit of both the undergraduate and graduate students at the university, made it a very easy decision to make this gift. We are extraordinarily pleased to support the center and look forward to watching its continued success for years to come.”

Burnham’s relationship with the USD School of Business real estate program dates back to 2004 when he, John Moores, founder of JMI, and senior management and brokers of Burnham-Real Estate Services made a $5 million endowment gift to support the real estate program at USD. This pivotal gift was recognized with the naming of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. The first cohort of the Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) program and the Real Estate Finance, Investments and Development Certificate program also commenced the same year.

Prior to 2014, the undergraduate real estate program (named the number one program in the nation by College Factual in 2018 and 2019) began in 1993 with a $1.5 million gift, provided by more than 100 donors (friends and family of Ernie Hahn and industry leaders) who were dedicated to creating a world-class real estate program at the USD School of Business. That gift created an endowment to name the Ernest W. Hahn Chair of Real Estate Finance.

“Malin’s generosity and support of San Diego institutions is legendary and we are very grateful for this latest gift to help take the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate to a new level of excellence,” says Harris.

“The number one ranking of the real estate program by College Factual, two years in a row, demonstrates that our mission is working,” says Stath Karras, executive director at the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. “We are incredibly grateful to Malin and Roberta for their generous gift and continued support in the form of time, talent and treasure. Malin’s initial gift in 2004, established an endowment to name our center. His continued support is a testament to his confidence in and support of the long-term success of the USD School of Business real estate program.”

About Malin Burnham
Malin Burnham has served as chairman of John Burnham & Company Insurance and Burnham Real Estate since 1949 and stays involved in their successor companies. He has been an active board member for more than 16 companies and currently serves on the board of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, UCSD Foundation, Rady School of Management, USS Midway Museum and the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate (BMC), which he co-endowed. Additionally, Burnham has chaired nine major non-profits and co-founded 14 organizations to benefit the community. His awards and achievements are numerous and include: the 2012 Stanford Real Estate Hall of Fame; 2002 Junior Achievement/San Diego Business Hall of Fame; Philanthropist of the Year; Civic Entrepreneur of the Year; Mr. San Diego; and many more. Burnham is a world-recognized sailor for more than 50 years and at the age of 17, he became the youngest skipper to win a world championship in the international star class. In 1987, Burnham played a leading role in bringing the America’s Cup to San Diego. He is a former partner/owner of the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Sockers and graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.

About the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, University of San Diego School of Business
As a Center of Excellence within the USD School of Business, the mission of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate is to help recruit, educate and mentor real estate students with the goal of facilitating their career pursuits in a socially responsible manner, with a global perspective and in collaboration with the real estate industry. We accomplish this mission through support of outstanding faculty and professional staff, dedicated career services, active industry involvement and outreach, and relevant and applied research. College Factual has ranked the USD School of Business undergraduate real estate program number one in 2018 and 2019. Visit the BMC website for more information. Follow us on Twitter @USDBMC.

For more information about the Campaign for 2020, contact Stath Karras, executive director of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, or MaryAnn F. Stewart, executive advisor for philanthropy.

For media inquiries, contact Kimberly Malasky, director of communications and marketing for the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.

Read media coverage on this story:

Fox 5 San Diego
USD Receives $2.3 M for Real Estate Program
Story also on the Fox 5 Facebook page 
Burnham Foundation Founder Gives $2.3 M to USD Real Estate Center

San Diego Business Journal (Requires subscription to read the story)
Malin Burnham Donates $2.3 M to USD Real Estate Program
By Ray Huard

San Diego Metro (Sixth story down)
Malin and Roberta Burnham make $2.3 million gift to Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate

SD Transcript (Requires subscription to read the story)
Powerhouse real estate investors share tips to their success
By Thor Kamban Biberman

Times of San Diego
$2.3 Million Gift from Burnhams Boost Grants at USD Center for Real Estate


Kimberly Malasky
(619) 260-4786