Stan Ross, chairman emeritus of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, passed away June 10. He was 82.
Ross grew up in the Bronx, and studied at the City College of New York business school, now known as Baruch College. After graduating, Ross joined the U.S. Army. It was only after his service that he connected with Kenneth Leventhal, a pioneer in the world of real estate accounting in Los Angeles, where he was introduced to real estate.
Starting in 1961, Ross and Leventhal worked together to build up the reputation of Kenneth Leventhal & Co., placing it as the ninth-largest accounting firm. Ross also advised companies such as Boise Cascade Co, Levitt & Sons and Singer Co. Ross eventually represented major real estate developers including A. Alfred Taubman and Donald Bren.
Ross became chairman of the Lusk Center in 1999, where he helped develop an advisory board of real estate professionals, advanced real estate education and launched the Ross Minority Program, which indubitably serves as a strong marker of his legacy.
USC Price School of Public Policy Dean Jack Knott emphasized how Ross “played a remarkable role in advising, teaching and mentoring our real estate students.”
“[It’s] devoted to investing in and revitalizing low-income, diverse communities, helps train people out of those communities in real estate skills and acknowledge about the kind of assets they have in their communities,” Knott said. “So that’s a passion for him over many years.”
Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center, attributed much of the center’s success to Ross.
“The Lusk Center was started in 1987, but not a whole lot was done with it,” Green said. “He was critical to the Lusk Center being what it is [today].”
Ross was a Distinguished Fellow at the USC Price school, and also a member of the USC Price Board of Councilors. The majority of his work and contributions focused on changing the real estate industry for the better — and that meant working to change the kinds of people who work in it.
“One of the problems with real estate is it’s a remarkably un-diverse industry,” Green said. “When you go to a conference of real estate developers, it is depressing how large the audience share is of white man. Stan had a vision of changing the business by developing a boot camp for real estate development that was specifically designed to get people of color who had some link to development — they could have been architects, they could have been designers, they could have been economic development people — in a taste of what the business is like.”
The Ross Minority Program has more than 700 alumni today.
“Many of us connected to Lusk and Price benefitted from Stan’s mentorship and counsel,” Knott wrote in an email addressed to the USC Price Community last week. “In my time as Dean, Stan’s insight and recommendations have been incredibly valuable to me.”
Ross is survived by his wife, three daughters and twelve grandchildren.
A memorial service took place June 12 at the Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery.