USC alumnus gives $10 million donation to Price school

Side angle photo of Sol Price School of Public Policy, a large red brick building with high glass windows. Red banners displaying the school's name hang near the entrance and a lamppost. Green foliage surrounds the premises.
Wil Smith earned his master’s degree in real estate development at the USC Price School of Public Policy. His gift will go towards scholarships and faculty research, and establishes the USC Price Wilbur H. Smith III Department of Real Estate Development. (Daily Trojan file photo)

Wil Smith, a USC alumnus and real estate executive, has donated $10 million to the Sol Price School of Public Policy to fund scholarships, research opportunities and other resources, the University announced Wednesday. 

The donation renames the USC Department of Real Estate Development, which opened last year, the USC Price Wilbur H. Smith III Department of Real Estate Development. This is the school’s first naming gift of a department. 

Smith graduated fromPrice  with a master’s degree in real estate development in 1999, and in 2003 founded Greenlaw Partners, a real estate firm based in Southern California. Since then, Smith has remained involved within the USC and Price community by delivering guest lectures at the school and acting as a mentor to graduate students. He is also a member of the executive committee of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, the Price Board of Councilors and the Price School Real Estate Advisory Board. 

“He has done some pretty visionary projects,” Department of Real Estate Development chair Richard Green said. “He does a wide variety of things in the real estate business. He’s always been generous about sharing what he knows with our students, because he comes back and talks to our students on a regular basis.” 

According to Green, the department serves approximately 650 undergraduate and graduate students with majors or minors in real estate development. It also supports a group of researchers studying topics relating to real estate development. 

The money will primarily be used to recruit top faculty members to the department, provide financial aid for students studying real estate and summer funding for faculty research while also expanding professional development opportunities. . 

“[We want to] particularly help those [students], for whom USC would be a very expensive place … to help students come here, because one thing that’s very important for us is for people who traditionally have not gotten into the real estate business to get into that business,” Green said. 

The donation money will be put to use beginning next academic year.