Adelstein, B.S. Arch ’89, is Investing in Students’ Grand Aspirations

Brian AdelsteinDuring a recent trip to Ann Arbor for his work on the Taubman College alumni council, Brian Adelstein was on a run through campus which ended up on the hill near Mary Markley Hall. He reflected on his time flipping burgers in the snack bar there as an undergraduate when he worked 30 hours a week to 
help pay for school.

“I’m from Ohio. I could have gone to Ohio State or another state school and not have had to worry about money. But, in my mind, there was something important about going to a school like Michigan,” he says. “To be able to say, ‘I’m an alum of the University of Michigan. I’m an alum of Taubman College.’ It’s a badge of honor, and it says something about me to people with whom I’m having conversations or people who are considering me for jobs.” It was a Taubman College classmate who recruited him to real estate company Cushman & Wakefield in 1999. Twenty-three years later, he’s still there, now leading a team of transaction managers in the completion of acquisitions and dispositions for a global financial services client. He’s invigorated by real estate, currently reaching a fever pace after some slower years due to the pandemic. And he’s happy to see Taubman College is now offering a real estate development minor and graduate certificate.

“I was energized to see an avenue within the school for people to test the waters in real estate and start really understanding what the industry can offer to them. I’ve been in that industry for 23 years, and every day I use something I learned at Taubman,” he says.  

Now, with a successful career and his children in their teenage years, he’s in the position to give back to students who, just as he did, know that Taubman College is the best place for them.

“We can we do something for students like me who need financial help to go through this program,” he says. “It’s one of those things that you don’t really understand if you’ve never tried to go through college and wonder where the money is going to come from — what am I going to do to make sure I can afford that next semester or the supplies I need to complete a project?”

In addition to the Alumni Council’s fundraising work, Adelstein relishes the opportunity to engage with students directly. Something struck him about the Taubman College students he spoke with.

“They all want to go out and make an impact on society and other people. They talk about wanting to go into sustainability, affordable housing or wanting to complete projects that support underprivileged people. They have these grand aspirations that their next steps are going to have an impact beyond themselves, and this energizes me every time I talk to them.” 

Liz G. Fisher