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Din Family Scholar Prize

GSAPP launches The Din Family Scholar Prize, to be awarded annually to a graduating student in the M.S. Real Estate Development Program in recognition of the highest academic attainment.

Johnny Din ’14 MSRED immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when he was 8 years old. His parents, who are Christian missionary workers, instilled strong and clear family values: Education is the essential pathway to opportunity. Study hard and doors will open.

Johnny graduated from UCLA with a business economics degree, which landed him a job at the storied investment bank Lehman Brothers. When he heard about the MSRED program, he jumped at the opportunity to use it to focus his career on real estate. The program fast tracked Johnny’s entrance to the New York City real estate market, and he quickly built a vast network of friends and future colleagues.

Today, he is the CEO of real estate firm Cycamore Capital while completing a Doctor in Education because – as he says – why stop learning? He remains deeply involved with Columbia, as a popular adjunct professor and alumni leader, building on his tenure as MSRED class president.

In 2023, Columbia GSAPP honored Johnny’s ongoing commitment and volunteerism with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the annual MSRED Alumni Gala. Johnny responded with his own gesture by announcing the creation of the William and Eileen Din Family Fund to award the Din Family Scholar Prize, an endowed graduation prize recognizing the student with the highest academic achievement in the MSRED program. The inaugural Din Family Scholar Prize will be awarded in 2024.

“I received so much from Columbia; giving back is the easy part,” Johnny recently shared. “The ability to do this – to honor my parents’ commitment to my education, to recognize the top graduate each year, and to give back to the MSRED program – is incredibly meaningful to me. I hope this gift inspires others to do the same and give back to Columbia.”

About the Din Family Scholar Prize:

  • The Din Family Scholar Prize will be awarded annually to a graduating student enrolled in GSAPP’s M.S. Real Estate Development Program. Students enrolled in joint programs with M.S. Real Estate Development (e.g. Master of Architecture or M.S. Urban Planning) are also eligible.

  • The Prize is intended to be an extraordinary prize to acknowledge the academic excellence of a singular recipient with the highest academic attainment in the M.S. Real Estate Development Program.

  • The amount of the Prize will be $5,000 and should not be limited to $5,000, should the endowment payment grow in future years.

  • The inaugural 2024 Din Family Scholar prize will be announced at the Columbia GSAPP Graduation on May 11, 2024.