One of ULI’s longest-serving Life Trustees and renowned industry expert Stan Ross, chairman emeritus of the University of Southern California’s Lusk Center for Real Estate and Distinguished Fellow of the university’s School of Policy, Planning & Development, passed away June 10. He was 82.
Ross, whose involvement with ULI spanned nearly 50 years, remained highly engaged with the Institute throughout his membership, giving generously of his time, investing in ULI’s programming, and serving as a highly regarded colleague and mentor to numerous ULI members. In 2003, he was part of the original class of members to be awarded the Institute’s prestigious Life Trustee designation, a recognition reserved for ULI’s most dedicated members whose service to ULI has been extraordinary
Ross conceived, supported, and participated in the real estate trends programming at ULI’s annual Fall Meeting, a full day of real estate sessions dedicated to examining a wide range of factors, including demographics, economic shifts, sustainability issues, capital markets, and technology, and the real estate implications of those trends. Known for years as the “Stan Ross Real Estate Trends Conference,” “Trends Day” remains a highlight of the Fall Meeting each year.
“Stan epitomized the essence of ULI. He gave back tirelessly to help ULI reach its full potential as a thought leader on all aspects of real estate,” said ULI Global Chairman Thomas W. Toomey. “He was a gifted strategist, highly respected and profoundly influential. He will be deeply missed as a longtime member of our community.”
Over the years, Ross’s expansive volunteerism at ULI included service as a ULI Foundation Board member and longtime Foundation Governor; and membership on the Audit Committee, Investment Committee, Program Committee (ULI 2008 Fall Meeting in Los Angeles), Smart Growth Advisory Group, Governance Committee, Real Estate Capital Markets Task Force, Executive Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, Urban Development and Mixed-Use Council, and Residential Development Council. He was the author of The Inside Track to Careers in Real Estate, a book published by ULI in 2006.
“Stan believed firmly in keeping ULI at the forefront of issues affecting the real estate industry and our cities,” said ULI Americas Chairman Patricia R. “Trish” Healy. “His support of ULI contributed significantly to ULI’s unique network of knowledge sharing that has benefited countless members. His impact on our organization will be felt for many years to come.”
Ross was widely recognized for his experience in strategic planning for real estate companies, with expertise in mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations, and the development of creative financial structures. He was involved in the initial organization of the Resolution Trust Corporation, a government agency that in the 1990s liquidated hundreds of failed savings and loan associations.
Ross began his real estate career in Los Angeles as a certified public accountant in the early 1960s, working with his partner Kenneth Leventhal to establish Kenneth Leventhal & Company. As real estate increasingly became a key part of corporate mergers and acquisitions, Ross began to advise some of the nation’s biggest property owners and developers, building a practice that spanned decades. In 1995, Leventhal & Company merged with Ernst & Young, and Ross became managing partner of the firm’s real estate accounting practice and a vice chairman of the firm.
He retired from Ernst & Young in 1999, and in 2000, was named Chairman of the USC Lusk Center, a post he held until his retirement in 2017. While chairing the Lusk Center, Ross helped significantly to expand the Ross Minority Program in Real Estate, an executive training program initiated in 1993 to teach real estate fundamentals to students with the goal of increasing diversity among future leaders in the real estate industry. In 2003, Ross and his wife Marilyn made a generous endowment to ensure that the program would remain a permanent institution at USC.
In addition to Marilyn Ross, his wife of 61 years, Ross is survived by their three daughters, twelve grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. ULI is eternally grateful for his contributions and his impact will be forever appreciated. He will be missed.