Indiana University says gifts to the Kelley School of Business totaling $500,000 will help foster more diversity among real estate professionals throughout the state. The gifts from Al and Shary Oak and Lacy and Patty Johnson will support internships and real estate-related programming.

The university says the funding will provide financial support for students during their internships, with a special emphasis placed on African-American and female students. It will also support the expansion of the real estate workshop at the Kelley school at IUPUI.

The gift will also name the directorship of the Kelley School’s Center for Real Estate Studies after the Oaks.

"We’re very excited and proud to receive these generous gifts from Al and Shary Oak and Lacy and Patty Johnson," said Idalene Kesner, dean of the Kelley School of Business and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. "The support in naming the directorship will help take our real estate program to the next level. The gifts will also increase diversity, enhancing the experience for all students."

Additionally, the donors say they wish to use the gifts to honor three prominent Hoosiers:

  • Joyce Rogers, former president and CEO of the Indiana Black Expo and now vice president for development and external relations in the IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.
  • Sarah Evans Barker, senior U.S. district judge for the southern district of Indiana.
  • John Tinder, a retired circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Al Oak is the chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based design firm Cripe. Shary Oak serves on the company’s board of directors. Lacy Johnson is a partner at Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis. Patty Johnson is the former president of the Women’s Assistance League in Indianapolis.

"We are proud to offer our support, with the Oaks, in order to foster diversity among students entering Indiana’s real estate profession and, in doing so, honor prominent Hoosiers," said Lacy Johnson. "The immersive opportunities and financial support provided through the Center for Real Estate Studies at the IU Kelley School of Business enrich and strengthen the entire community."