Jorge M. Pérez, named one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States by TIME magazine, will deliver the keynote address at the 50th commencement exercises at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11, 2008. The 1972 graduate of C.W. Post also will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
Considered America 's leading developer of sophisticated metropolitan living, Pérez is chairman and chief executive officer of The Related Group, the largest Hispanic-owned business in the U.S. and the country's largest multi-family real estate development firm. Under his direction, The Related Group has redefined the landscape of South Florida . Since its founding in 1979, the firm has built and/or managed more than 70,000 apartments and condominium residences. Its current portfolio represents assets under development of more than $10.7 billion.
While The Related Group is best known for its luxury high-rise properties and visionary mixed-use urban centers, Pérez's first contribution to the development of South Florida was in the affordable housing market. He started his business by building in neighborhoods such as Miami 's Little Havana and Homestead , bringing with him expertise acquired earlier in his career as vice president and director of land use and market services for Landauer Associates and coordinator of community development for the City of Miami.
His passion for vibrant urban communities is reflected in his distinguished record of civic involvement, especially in his tireless work on behalf of arts institutions and cultural programs. Pérez is a member of the board of directors of the Miami Art Museum , chairs the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council and is a director of the Miami Film Festival. He also serves on the board of the Miami Downtown Development Authority and is a trustee of the University of Miami .
Pérez has received numerous awards, including the Builder of the Year award from Multifamily Executive magazine; Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award; the Hispanic Achievement & Business Entrepreneurship Award from Hispanic Magazine; the Champion of the Community Spirit Award from The Wellness Community; the Citizen of the Year award from The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce; and the Sand In My Shoes Award from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, Pérez became the first American developer to receive the Icon in Real Estate Award of Excellence at MIPIM in Cannes , France .
Born in Buenos Aires , Argentina to Cuban parents, Pérez earned a bachelor's degree in economics from C.W. Post in 1972. He had a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He also holds a master's degree in urban planning, with highest honors, from the University of Michigan. He is married and has four children.