VCU Real Estate Program receives $1 million gift

Virginia Commonwealth University today announced a $1 million gift from Richmond businessman Sam Kornblau to advance the real estate program in the VCU School of Business.

The newly named Kornblau Real Estate Program focuses on research broadly related to commercial and residential real estate. These issues often benefit from an interdisciplinary approach and include such concerns as land use, housing and commercial development – the social, cultural and economic sides of the real estate business.

“The success of the Kornblaus is an incredibly important story,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “So when you take that Kornblau name and you associate it for students with success, it inspires our students.

“These are people who are inspiring the community and if they can inspire our students, the next generation of success that can follow the Kornblaus becomes a reality, because of the Kornblaus’ investment in future generations.”

VCU and the Kornblau family share a deep history of propagating Central Virginia’s real estate market. In 2006, Kornblau gifted $2.5 million to establish a real estate institute in the School of Business. One Kornblau grandchild received an MBA from the VCU School of Business, and another will receive her graduate degree this December.

“I'm pretty well attached to VCU,” Kornblau said. “A few years ago, a company that I was associated with set up a scholarship at VCU in my name. After that, on a regular basis, I received letters from the recipients telling me how they loved the school and what they were going to do. And it made a great, great impression on me.”

For more than 60 years, Kornblau has been in the real estate business, building single-family homes, shopping centers and apartment communities in Virginia and North Carolina. He is chairman of SAMCO Development Corp. and a member of the board of directors of Eagle Construction of Virginia LLC.

Kornblau, a lifelong resident of Richmond and veteran of World War II and the Korean War, has served as chairman of the Virginia Housing Development Authority and on the board of several area banks. He has held leadership positions in Congregation Or Atid, Temple Beth El and the Jewish War Veterans.

“The shared vision between the Kornblaus and Virginia Commonwealth University is to have a world-class real estate program both at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Ed Grier, dean of the School of Business. "This gift makes that goal even more of a reality. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a generous benefactor as Sam Kornblau."

Rao announced the gift at the 23rd annual VCU Real Estate Trends Conference at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

The VCU School of Business enrolls more than 3,500 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. VCU is unique in the breadth of real estate degrees that are offered at the undergraduate and masters level. More than 15,000 School of Business alumni live and work in Richmond-based companies.

Kornblau is married to the former Helen Silver. They have three children and six grandchildren.


About VCU and the VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls nearly 31,000 students in 223 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

Sam Kornblau
Sam Kornblau