Published: July 17, 2023

In his nine years, Michael Kercheval helped connect academics to industry

Image of Mike Kercheval, retired as Sherman R. Miller Executive Director of the CU Real Estate Center (CUREC) for seven years

Kercheval predicts an exciting evolution of the industry ahead and great opportunities for Leeds graduates.

Strong relationships and collaborations underpin the real estate industry. Michael Kercheval, with a successful 20-year career in global real estate, understands that better than most.

In June 2023, he retired from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business, where he served as the Sherman R. Miller Executive Director of the CU Real Estate Center (CUREC) for seven years.

One of his most valuable contributions was strengthening the ties between Leeds and industry. Connecting students with real estate professionals, he developed co-curricular programming including networking, mentoring and career treks to industry partners.

CUREC is one of the six Centers of Excellence at Leeds and a popular destination for students pursuing an undergraduate area of emphasis (major), an MBA pathway or a master’s degree in real estate.

Kercheval’s legacy

His impact on Leeds has been vast and meaningful.

The real estate industry has always been dynamic, but it changed dramatically during the pandemic. Kercheval helped CUREC’s programs remain agile as a new real estate landscape emerged.

He also helped raise awareness of real estate technology at a time when the idea of AI and other technologies were not yet widely recognized as key parts of real estate’s future. In 2020, the CU Real Estate Forum featured an insider’s look into the rapidly growing PropTech sector and disruption of the iBuying revolution.

Notably, he used his international business acumen to create the center’s world-class International Advisory Board, which gave Leeds graduates access to emerging opportunities globally, as well as generated a significant new source of funding for the center’s activities.

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I have learned that real estate has the unique ability to positively impact and improve the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet.

Michael Kercheval

Under Kercheval’s leadership, the center continued providing opportunities to diverse students. CUREC created, funded and launched two scholarship programs for diverse undergraduates that included networking, a career trek to New York and exclusive meet-and-greets with industry executives. The center also supports the Inclusive City Builders Internship Program, through which Leeds students have pursued internships. And recently, CUREC incorporated Project REAP graduates into the real estate executive education program.

“I am extremely pleased to have been able to raise the awareness of the need to increase diversity in the real estate industry, starting with attracting under-represented students into the real estate program and then providing the mentoring, skills-training and financial assistance to help them succeed,” he says.

Doing good and doing well

Today, as he reflects on his time at Leeds, he’s excited about the future for real estate students.  

“The opportunities for CUREC at the Leeds School of Business are extraordinary, especially the opportunity to firmly link academic excellence with dynamic business-sector needs. I can clearly see the economic and social benefits of enabling top-trained talent to soar in the industry by fielding graduates into upwardly mobile global careers.”

“Real estate has the unique ability to positively impact and improve the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet,” he says. “It is a career where one can ‘do good’ in addition to ‘do well.’  Sharing that opportunity with bright future leaders I believe is the best opportunity for our collective futures.”

He sees more recognition of real estate’s contribution to society and the economy. He says real estate is our cities, towns and communities, where we live, work and play. He asserts that commercial real estate is the world’s largest investment asset, dwarfing the global pool of all stocks and bonds combined.

What comes next 

“First and foremost, I’ll be enjoying Boulder and all it has to offer,” he says. “Second, I plan to more fully engage in the many non-paying community service jobs that I believe can positively impact our community and society. I also plan to keep investing in real estate.” 

He hopes to remain an active participant with CUREC as a resource for students, and he’ll continue participating on various CU boards.

“I hope to be remembered as a creative, out-of-the-box thinker on the leading edge of merging an academic real estate program with the needs of the real estate industry globally.”

Why Leeds  CUREC