The new college football season kicked off last month at Virginia Tech – the first in four decades where Rosemary Carucci Goss, Ph.D., wasn’t teaching some of its football players.
Goss, founder of the Residential Property Management (RPM) program at the Blacksburg, Va., campus, retired last spring after 42 years. She’s been the organizational leader and face of a program – one that has graduated more than 700 students, most of whom went on to successful RPM careers.
Virginia Tech’s four-year curriculum welcomed students from all backgrounds – many of whom at first had no idea that property management was a viable and sustainable career. Interestingly, the program found great appeal from the Hokies’ football team – nearly 40 of its players having earned the degree.
“I’m a big Virginia Tech football fan and every season it was fun seeing my students appear on national TV,” Goss says. “In the season-opener this fall, one of my students scored two touchdowns and another blocked a punt in our big win over Florida State. Our goal is to make them equally successful in property management.”
The football program certainly won’t forget her. Last spring, a surprise event was held in the tunnel that leads to the Lane Stadium football field. There, to Goss’ surprise, a ceremony was held where metal gates with the VT logo and a plaque was unveiled, honoring Goss, the Virginia Tech RPM program and its positive impact on its players.
“Seeing that display was a total shock,” Goss says. “They didn’t even tell my husband it was going to happen. What a thrill!”
Chair of the program’s advisory board, Curtis Mummau (RPM Class of ’92), a Senior Vice President at Cushman & Wakefield, organized the event.
“Given the tremendous things she’s done for this program and the students, we wanted to pay tribute to her with something unique and appropriate,” Mummau says. “If you are a Virginia Tech football fan, you know how special the run-out from that tunnel is on game day.”
VT Under New Leadership
This fall, the RPM program welcomes Associate Professor of Practice in Property Management Kelly Avery, who brings years’ of practical experience, having worked in apartment management at the onsite and executive level for Aimco and Dranoff, among others.
“Dr. Goss was a true trailblazer for professional property management at Virginia Tech and beyond,” Avery says. “It is an honor to follow her; however, I am not trying to fill her shoes in a like-for-like way. She was revolutionary and I, along with the property management faculty and board, will guide the program through an evolutionary process, adapting over time to the changes and trends in the property management field which will allow us to continue being a prime provider of learning excellence in the field of property management.
“I arrived in Blacksburg to find a well-established academic degree program of outstanding quality that has proven valuable to both students and companies for many years. I will use this excellent foundation to further the continued success of the program.”
“After 42 years, I’ve been kind of anxious about leaving,” Goss says. “But having met with [Avery] a few times, and with all that I’m hearing about her and the job she’s doing, the program is in great hands going forward. My retirement has become much more relaxing, knowing she is onboard.”
Goss recognizes that during her career she has been fortunate to have had “so much help from so many others” among Virginia Tech’s administration and faculty as well as those in the apartment industry to both create and maintain the program.
“I’m most proud about the fact that we were able to recognize a need (property management) in an area that wasn’t being addressed at the university level and, with the help of a newly formed industry advisory board, we were able to get the major approved through the university’s process. It wasn’t easy.”
“Most students, when they are thinking about their majors, don’t even know that an RPM career is available,” Goss says. “Students who graduate from our program can walk into their first jobs as a first step on their new career path.”
Many years ago, Goss recognized the value in NAA Education Institute’s Certified Apartment Manager (CAM) program and requested that Property Management majors, who completed required property management courses and an apartment industry internship, be eligible to take the CAM exam and earn the CAM credential.
Goss says she is most satisfied about the growth the program achieved. “We’ve been able to address the managing of many rental housing types beyond conventional multifamily: affordable, senior, student housing,” she says. “We’ve also added commercial real estate and asset management.”
‘I Got a Promotion!’
And while, for the students, spring brings the excitement of receiving that diploma, Goss says she can “hardly wait” every spring for the property management career fair, so I can meet up again with our graduates and hear about the new job they’ve gotten and for others, their latest promotions.
As she did during her Virginia Tech career, Goss continues to help mentor current university and college RPM programs and help others get underway. This year, she’s been hired as a consultant by the NAA Education Institute to conduct outreach with universities interested in offering residential property management as a concentration, minor or major. Rosemary has already been in touch with Portland State and the College of Charleston about their desire to create an RPM program.
Meanwhile, Goss continues to cheer on the Hokies’ football team.
“Some of our students went on to play in the NFL and had nice careers and many others tried out,” she says. “Several years ago, one former student spent two years trying to make the pros. Later, he called to tell me, ‘I’ve tried so hard to be a pro football player, but I can tell now, it’s just not going to happen. I am ready to use my degree in property management.”
Within a few weeks, he was employed by the company he had interned with and continues to work there today.
“Each year, I see him at Apartmentalize,” Goss says. “Not only did he get to play big-time college football and earn a college degree, he found a rewarding career in residential property management.”
In Dr. Goss’ eyes, he scored points on and off the field.