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Virginia Tech's real estate program named for Richmond-area family after their $10 million donation

Virginia Tech's real estate program named for Richmond-area family after their $10 million donation

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Blackwood family

The Blackwood family has made a $10 million donation to Virginia Tech’s real estate program. From left, Morgan Blackwood Patel, Willis Blackwood, Mary Nolen Blackwood, and Nolen Blackwood.

A Richmond-area developer and his family have donated a total of $10 million to Virginia Tech’s real estate program.

The program now bears the name of the Blackwood family, the university said, in recognition of the donation from Willis Blackwood, his wife, Mary Nolen Blackwood, and their children, Morgan Blackwood Patel and Nolen Blackwood, all of whom graduated from Virginia Tech.

Willis Blackwood and his wife donated $2 million to Virginia Tech's real estate program in 2018, and the family has since provided additional support for a total of $10 million, the university said.

Their gift is the largest made to the program.

In 1988, Willis Blackwood founded Blackwood Development Co., a commercial real estate firm based in Chesterfield County that provides new development, property management, leasing, brokerage and consulting services.

Willis Blackwood, the firm's president, earned his Virginia Tech bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1972. His wife earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1973 and their daughter graduated in 2002. Their son, who got his degree in 2010, is a partner in the real estate firm.

Virginia Tech's real estate program,  which began with four students in August 2013 and has grown to more than 350 undergraduates, recently was ranked third among the nation’s top 25 real estate programs, according to Great Business Schools, a free online guide on business schools.

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