Matthew Hussmann
Matthew Hussmann. “I come from a development background that thinks about dollar amounts. Urban studies is about change for the betterment of people.” (Kevin Morley, University Marketing)

Class of 2021: Matthew Hussmann wants to focus on bringing positive change to communities

The real estate broker has long had a passion for building. Now, as a graduate of VCU’s urban and regional studies and planning program, he is looking at his career in a new way.

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Real estate broker Matthew Hussmann was drawn to the field of urban and regional studies because of its focus on people and policy.

“I come from a development background that thinks about dollar amounts. Urban studies is about change for the betterment of people,” said Hussmann, who is graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional studies and planning from Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. “It would be nice to make a change and make a difference in my career.”

The urban and regional studies and planning program has been valuable to his growth, said Hussmann, 32. “It really changed me.”

A Fredericksburg, Virginia, native, Hussmann’s interest in real estate started when he and his grandfather, who owned a real estate company, visited different properties.

“It gave me this passion for residential real estate and for building,” Hussmann said.

He attended the University of North Carolina-Charlotte for his freshman year, but it wasn’t the right fit at that time, he said. Hussmann instead returned to Virginia and earned an associate degree of arts and sciences in general studies from Germanna Community College.

Hussmann was working for a real estate company in the Fredericksburg area when he moved to Richmond last year with his husband, Dalton. Hussmann was still commuting to his job in Fredericksburg when he enrolled at VCU in August 2020.

“My husband and I had fallen in love with Richmond, and I had always liked VCU. When I was looking for programs, planning and urban studies looked appealing,” he said.

Hussmann, who now works as a real estate broker for One South Realty Group in Richmond, has been taking five to six classes a semester and completed summer semesters in order to get his degree this year. Going to VCU has been a fantastic experience, he said.

“I attribute my success at VCU to my academic adviser, Nicolette Zbell. One of the best things about VCU is the advising team and my adviser,” he said.

On Nov. 9, Hussmann was inducted into the VCU Chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society as a charter member. After graduation, he is considering enrolling in VCU’s master’s program for homeland security and emergency preparedness in the Wilder School.

“I’ve learned through the urban studies program that there are so many underserved communities that are not taken care of during emergency situations,” he said. “I would like to make that better.”