Bloom Profeta Lim
Higher Ed

Historic Gift to NJIT has a Family Legacy

Paul Profeta, founder of real estate investment firm Paul V. Profeta and Associates, celebrated his parents at the dedication of a new real estate research center that he has endowed at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark.

The Paul V. Profeta Foundation Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation Center examines the use of tech and new design, construction and business models in real estate, with a focus on information technology and platform economics. It’s based at NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management, and led by Oya Tukel, the dean at MTSM, who serves as acting director.

The Paul V. Profeta Foundation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, fuels NJIT’s efforts to support business and economic growth in its home city of Newark and works closely with VentureLink, the business incubation arm of the university’s New Jersey Innovation Institute.

Both centers were launched last year through a transformational donation from Profeta – the largest individual gift in NJIT’s history. Speaker after speaker at the dedication reflected on the impact of that generosity, for students, facuty and the surrounding community.

Fred and Lynn Profeta instilled in their son Paul the value of education as a means to rise in status and earn respect. Fred, an Italian immigrant, came to America in 1906 at the age of three. It was a period of open prejudice and bigotry toward immigrants, and for him, education was the key to opportunity. While holding two jobs, Fred earned a Ph.D. in law and became university professor and Lynn earned a master’s at Seton Hall and became a middle school teacher and guidance counselor.

Now, through Paul Profeta’s endowment of both a real estate center and center on entrepreneurship, he hopes to provide the same opportunities to a new generation of students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

“My parents knew education was the escalator for the family in this country. They launched us on good escalators and I want the family legacy to be an escalator here at NJIT,” said Profeta, founder of Paul V. Profeta and Associates, a real estate investment company. “If you came to this campus in the ‘60s and ‘70s, you saw a lot of Jews, Irish and Italians taking the escalator. Today, you see African-Americans, you see Asians, you see Latinos. They’re the children of immigrants taking the escalator, getting the degree, getting respect.”

According to NJIT President Joel S. Bloom, “Both [centers] challenge us to rethink our vision, expand our engagement with the community and provide enhanced opportunities for our talented and hardworking students. For this reason, Paul, we thank you for this tremendous investment in the next generation of leaders, visionaries, researchers and innovators.”

For Tukel, the real estate center represents a “unique opportunity” for MTSM to “expand our academic outreach and to build alliances and partnerships with the Newark community and beyond. Notably it allows us to challenge our students – a diverse group of learners, 32% of whom are underrepresented minorities – to ask more of themselves and to apply a disruptive mindset to their problem-solving.

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