The Property Management Advisory Board had a clandestine plan. On a warm April afternoon, members assembled for a behind-the-scenes tour of Lane Stadium with Rosemary Goss, the longtime recipient of the board’s endowed professorship.
Toward the end of the tour, just after Goss walked under the famous Hokie Stone that football players touch for luck before the start of each game, the group stopped. Curtis Mummau ’92, chair of the advisory board and senior vice president of the real estate company Cushman and Wakefield | Thalhimer, directed everyone’s attention to the tunnel’s entrance way. As Goss watched, Mummau unveiled a plaque that reads, “Gateway to success beyond the field in honor of Dr. Rosemary Goss.”
This honor was just the first of two that paid tribute to Goss’ contributions to the property management program at Virginia Tech. The second surprise came later that evening in the form of a professorship named in honor of Goss, who retired last month after 42 years at the university.
Like these celebrations, her past at Virginia Tech and the program were deeply intertwined — and began in an unexpected way.
Little did Goss suspect, in 1980, that meeting James Kelly, head of the multifamily division of the Virginia Housing Development Authority, at a conference would lead to a Virginia Tech professorship in her name decades later.
The encounter led to several more conversations and the conception of a new college curriculum to address the housing industry’s need for residential property management professionals.
As the conversation between Goss and Kelly continued through 1984, they realized that for the degree option to succeed, they needed to create a panel of industry partners with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Kelly recruited associates, such as real estate developer E. Carlton “Buddy” Wilton Jr. and Richard Bighinatti of Beacon Communities, both based in Richmond, to build the Virginia Tech Advisory Board of Residential Property Management.
In the fall of 1984, the board held its inaugural meeting, and the following year, Virginia Tech started the first property management higher education program in the United States. The option, initially focused on housing management, expanded with a commercial property management track, and the major was rechristened the property management major in 2014.
In 1992, the Advisory Board of Residential Property Management Endowed Professorship became the first externally funded professorship of what is now the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Four years later, the university honored Goss with the professorship, which she held until her retirement.
Throughout her tenure, Goss organized and coordinated an annual property management career fair that enables students to connect with members of the advisory board. This effort contributes to the 95 percent employment rate for the program’s students within three months of graduation from Virginia Tech.
Goss’ professorship came with a series of responsibilities. Along with hosting the career fair, she continued networking with industry professionals and ran the advisory board and managed its scholarships. Since 1985, the board has endowed 14 scholarships and funded more than $800,000 in scholarship funds.
“Having been involved with the program since the beginning, to see it grow and have the influence it has had over so many of our students and the property management industry itself is extremely rewarding,” said Goss. “We have even had former students send their children through our major. It made me feel really good that the alumni were happy enough with their education and careers that they sent their children to Virginia Tech to study the same field.”
Throughout the years, Goss has received many awards, including the National Academic Advising Association’s Certificate of Merit of the Outstanding Advising Award – Faculty Academic Advising, the Housing Impact Award from the Housing Education and Research Association, and Virginia Tech’s Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising.
Goss was also a charter member of the board of directors of the National Apartment Association Education Institute and received the institute’s first Apartment Career and Education Award for her contributions to its educational programs.
“To pay tribute to Rosemary when she decided to retire, the Property Management Advisory Board voted to change the name of the professorship,” said Julia Beamish, professor and head of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management.
In keeping with the original spirit of the position and its affiliation with the board, the official name has become the Property Management Advisory Board Professorship in Honor of Dr. Rosemary C. Goss. Once again industry partners joined with generous individuals, including alumni, to increase funding for the professorship so it could match the university’s endowment levels.
Faculty, alumni, and advisory board members gathered for a retirement reception to celebrate Goss’ years of service to the university and property management industry.
“For decades, Dr. Goss has inspired, educated, and mentored students within the property management program,” said Mummau. “She always could see the talent and ability in her students, more than they may have seen in themselves, and she found ways to bring out the best in them. As someone once said, ‘Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.’ Dr. Goss has certainly left a legacy within all her students as well as industry professionals over the years.”
Written by Leslie King