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Remembering George Rolfe

Al Levine Remarks at George Rolfe Memorial June 2, 2019

George and I first met in the 1970’s when he worked at the Pike Place Market and I was at Seattle Housing Authority; but it wasn’t until July 2005 that we connected in a meaningful way. I was working out in the cardiac rehab program at Swedish Cherry Hill and there on the treadmill next to me was George.

This turned out to be one of those chance encounters that literally changed the direction of my life.

George and I bonded quickly given the circumstance and my occasional class appearances soon led me to teaching with George on a regular basis.

One day I was surprised to see him bring a set of Lego blocks to the class. I’m thinking to myself is this graduate school or kindergarten. But there was a method to George’s madness and the blocks proved a useful way for students to understand development concepts as they applied to the sites we were studying.  Eventually though, even George had to concede that the students computer modeling skills had surpassed what could be done with blocks.

George was an extraordinary teacher, filling the class with anecdotes, his philosophy of life and real-life examples while always staying focused on making sure the students were learning.  He was always open to and in fact encouraged new approaches to enhance the classroom experience.

As a fledgling instructor, George mentored me through endless sessions on teaching philosophy, syllabus writing, grading, creating and managing student teams, assignments, and unfortunately even how to deal with plagiarism. And for that I’ll be forever grateful and appreciative.

It’s not an exaggeration to say, that he has probably touched more of the current Real Estate professionals in the region than any other single person. His legacy in this regard is generational.

And while we will all miss George greatly; I’m pleased to be able to announce that he will not be easily forgotten as the Runstad Faculty voted unanimously this week to create the “George Rolfe Outstanding Student Award”

To be given annually to the undergraduate and graduate students who best combine outstanding academic performance, exemplary participation in student projects and leadership in student activities.

The George Rolfe award will be presented at the Runstad Graduation events and will include recognition on a permanent display in the Runstad Department.

I want to thank the Department and College for approving the creation of these awards as a fitting tribute to George’s role in the creation of the Runstad Department and Real Estate education at UW.

In closing I would be remiss if I did not leave you with these last words of advice from George.

Always remember there are three ways to make money in Real Estate.

Cash Flow, Appreciation, and Tax Consequences.

Thank you.