Raspe pursues interests, education at USC
Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm in News
Kristina Raspe, vice president for real estate development and asset management, spent her childhood traveling around the country from Air Force base to Air Force base, depending on her father‚Äôs assignments. And she loved it.
‚ÄúI know so many kids that grow up in the Air Force or military don‚Äôt enjoy relocating a lot,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúBut I really enjoyed it. I loved meeting new people.‚ÄĚ
Her family settled down at Edwards Air Force Base around the time she finished elementary school and she has spent most of her life since in Southern California. She said she chose to attend UC Santa Barbara for her undergraduate degree because she had never lived near a beach. She also looked to her parents for inspiration in choosing a major.
‚ÄúBoth my parents had always been very civically engaged and I thought one day I would want to run for public office,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI studied political science and had to take a few classes that focused on legal issues and the law.‚ÄĚ
Raspe finished her undergraduate degree in two years, knowing she would either get her Ph.D. in political science or go to law school after graduating. She said she decided to go to law school because she ‚Äúfound it more fun.‚ÄĚ
She attended Loyola Law School and soon became interested in the legal side of real estate, working with firms that specialize in real estate and land-use law, such as TroyGould. She began working with USC as outside counsel on real estate issues before becoming the associate senior vice president for real estate and asset management at USC in 2006.
‚ÄúI loved working with the university because the mission of the university is appealing to me. [It‚Äôs] made the work more meaningful,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúWhen you‚Äôre building a building so people can try and cure cancer, that‚Äôs a lot more inspirational than building a building for people to make cell phones work better or to make a movie.‚ÄĚ
Raspe was appointed vice president for real estate development and asset management in July 2011. Her duties include overseeing the Master Plan, the university‚Äôs future plans for expansion and renovation through 2030, including new academic facilities and The Village at USC.
‚ÄúI love working in urban environments,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúWhen you can have a positive impact on the built environment, you can have a positive impact on the people. I like working on projects that impact people and I think, for example, the Village will have a positive impact on the neighborhood.‚ÄĚ
In addition to the Master Plan, Raspe oversees many of USC‚Äôs real estate transactions.
‚ÄúThe responsibilities of this department are so broad,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI could be negotiating a lease meeting with city officials, walking a construction site, doing a presentation for students or industry partners. I never know from day to day. It‚Äôs so fun and diverse.‚ÄĚ
She also found time to return to school for two master‚Äôs degrees in construction management and real estate development, both from USC. She said, because of tuition assistance offered to employees, she decided to return to school to refine her skills and knowledge.
‚Äú[In] some of the classes, I think I drove the professor crazy,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúHaving been a land use attorney for several years, I think the professor got tired of my constantly interjecting my thoughts on her course.‚ÄĚ
Raspe said she doesn‚Äôt know how long she plans to stay with USC but looks forward to seeing the progress of the Master Plan and university‚Äôs recent acquisition of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the estimated $70 million of needed renovations.
‚ÄúThe Coliseum is a national landmark and a treasure for all of Los Angeles,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThe idea that I can play a role in revitalizing that treasure is really inspirational.‚ÄĚ
She is also excited to see USC break ground on the Master Plan.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think I‚Äôve ever had a project with this time horizon,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI like longer projects because they involve more strategy. I intend to see the first phase of the project through.‚ÄĚ