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John Bredemeyer
John Bredemeyer, an Omaha real estate appraiser, promotes the UNO real estate program among his colleagues and prospective students. "I'm a believer that if you're going to be involved in something, be involved". photo by Tim Fitzgerald

Business Owner Raises Awareness, Funding for Real Estate Program

fall 2004

For 25 years, John Bredemeyer has put his UNO business degree to work in a variety of ways. He's built a respected reputation as a real estate appraiser, started his own business and has held several leadership roles in industry organizations. He's held the top post for the Nebraska Real Estate Appraiser Board and currently serves as a trustee of the Appraisal Foundation.

Despite his career advancement and recognition, he hasn't forgotten where he came from. In fact, Bredemeyer, a 1978 graduate and president of Realcorp, an Omaha real estate appraisal firm, makes it a priority to tout the benefits of the real estate program at UNO.

He's not just talking the talk: Bredemeyer regularly hires UNO interns and graduates and has taught classes as an adjunct professor. "I really feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to graduate from UNO," he says. "My degree in real estate gave me the foundation to do what I've done in my career. So, I'm a believer that if you're going to be involved in something, be involved. I feel that these are important areas of my profession and my life."

Bredemeyer's always been an active alumnus, serving as president of the alumni chapter of Rho Epsilon, the professional real estate fraternity. He's also a member of the UNO College of Business Administration (CBA) National Advisory Board. Faculty know they can count on him to support the college and the program.

He stepped up his involvement to an even greater degree three years ago. Bredemeyer recognized an opportunity for him and other leaders in the real estate industry to band together and ensure that the program would continue to provide a strong foundation for future professionals for many years to come. "We told each other, "If we want other people to have the same benefit we had, we need to do something about it,'" he says. "We're fortunate that UNO offers students a strong business education, and one that includes a basis in real estate."

A group of about 10 real estate professionals representing various facets of the industry joined forces to build support for an endowed professorship in the department. They visited the campus to talk with students about the profession and approached peers about supporting the program financially and with their time."This is something that's in the self-interest of business people in our community," Bredemeyer emphasizes. "If you want to have knowledgeable young people to bring into your organization, we need to give them the tools to build on. This is a smart way to do it."

Bredemeyer and his colleagues stirred up plenty of local support to reach their goal. They received a grant from the Baright Foundation for $200,000 to establish the endowed professorship. The Tier One Foundation also recognized the importance of the program and recently provided a $100,000 grant for applied research in real estate. In addition, Bredemeyer's group committed $100,000 of their own money to the program. Their efforts also have paid off in the number of students enrolled as real estate majors. In three years, enrollment has nearly tripled. And though Bredemeyer takes his involvement in stride, his commitment and that of his peers is critical.

"John's helped provide visibility for the program to prospective students," UNO Real Estate Chair Roger Sindt says. "And through his leadership, we've had more alumni involved in our program. His enthusiasm is contagious, and it provides the impetus for people to want to be part of what we're doing."

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