The first director of the Arnold and Dianne Gazarian Real Estate Center at California State University, Fresno sees many opportunities to make an impact as he teaches classes and works to connect students with industry professionals.

“Real estate is such an important part of the

[Fresno] economy,” said Dr. Andrew Hansz. “It’s an opportunity for many students to establish careers. We are trying to build a program the center and the curriculum will work side by side.”

Hansz taught at the University of Texas-Arlington for 10 years. He holds a doctorate in real estate from Georgia State University, an MBA from Lehigh University, and a master’s in real estate and bachelor’s degree in accounting from Penn State University.

A few dozen students are involved in the Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Option in the Craig School of Business. Hansz hopes to grow that number to a few hundred.

“California already has some great real estate programs but they are far to the north or south,” said Hansz. “But here in Central California there is an opportunity to fill a gap between these programs.”

One of the first activities Hansz helped organize was a local viewing of a Webinar focused on the national housing market featuring expert Mark Boud.

Hansz said he will organize events such as conferences, speaker series and student competitions to keep students and community members up-to-date with industry trends.

“There seems to be very strong demand from the community,” said Hansz. “They want to know what’s going on in the markets, they are interested in data and these conferences have been well attended so we hope to build upon those. “

Another tool that Hansz will use is the Gazarian Center blog. Market updates, event info and student term papers are among the items posted on the blog.

The Gazarian Real Estate Center was established by a $1.5 million gift from the namesakes. The center’s mission is to serve as a resource for the real estate industry in the Central Valley.