The University of Connecticut’s Real Estate Center, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in October, operates out of the university’s School of Business.

At least one of its alumni works at, or is in charge of, nearly every major real estate company in the Northeast. And soon, the Real Estate Center at the University of Connecticut will be celebrating its successes with events commemorating its first four decades of existence.

October marks 40 years since the state Legislature, with urging from a former UConn dean, William N. Kinnard Jr., passed a law to fund the center with portions of real estate agents’ and brokers’ license fees. The idea was a new one in 1965, and UConn’s program became an example for many others across the country.

“Connecticut was really on the forefront of something,” said Fran Jaffe, program administrator for the Real Estate Center.

Today, many other colleges and universities refer to the center as the model for funding and providing real estate research and teaching. And the state gets back what it puts into the center, according to Katherine Pancak, an associate professor and the former associate director of the center.

Its professionals work with the Real Estate Commission, the group that oversees real estate licensing and education and provides research – including the invaluable quarterly housing price indices divided by labor market areas – to the real estate industry in Connecticut.

“Basically, what we are doing is giving back to the professional community,” Pancak said. “We have a very active research agenda.”

But despite that agenda, the center’s No. 1 mission is to teach. Operating under the awning of UConn’s School of Business, it has several programs – including an undergraduate real estate major, which is technically a business major – and offers courses so M.B.A. graduates can earn a concentration in real estate. The center usually is ranked as one of the top 10 real estate education centers in the country, and many of the graduates of the center go into appraisal and work for companies like CB Richard Ellis, PricewaterhouseCoopers and MassMutual, according to Jaffe. Others might work for the real estate department of a bank, or in the real estate department of a corporation such as McDonald’s.

Some, however, do go into real estate brokerage, Pancak said.

Another component of the center’s mission is service. It holds two major conferences every year, one that addresses residential real estate in the spring and one that addresses commercial real estate in the fall.

‘Seminal Stuff’

Even for real estate professionals who have never participated in the center’s majors or concentrations in real estate, its contributions to the industry are evident. Bill Farley, the Connecticut president and a partner of CB Richard Ellis in Hartford, graduated from UConn with an M.B.A. degree but never took a course at the Real Estate Center. Even so, he is a member of a group that supports it, the Real Estate Center Council.

“I became very interested because they’re doing so much for the real estate industry,” Farley said.

The center’s research and papers are important and can help anyone in the industry, he added.

“[They are] kind of seminal stuff,” Farley said.

The center also has seeded the Northeast’s real estate industry with competent, knowledgeable people. CB Richard Ellis often hires interns from the center, and many of them become full-time staff members, Farley said. He estimated that between 12 and 15 employees in his office are alumni.

“It’s a terrific operation,” he said.

The council, which is made up of alumni and other real estate professionals, hopes to give the center more of a face in the community, raise money for scholarships and other needs and eventually hire a full-time staff member, Farley said.

“Part of the essence of what [the council] does is to give back to the center,” Jaffe said.

Although it has been 40 years, the center’s size has stayed constant with a staff of seven, despite the fact that some of the functions have changed.

“We’ve kept our core mission intact,” Pancak said. “Our mix of services may change.”

Since the director of the center, Dr. C.F. Sirmans, took over 15 years ago, research has increased. The school also now keeps the most comprehensive real estate library in New England, complete with subscriptions to real estate journals. The library is open to anyone.

The center will hold a weekend-long celebration in October commemorating its 40th anniversary. Because the center was founded in the month of October, its staff decided to have the celebratory events coincide with UConn’s annual homecoming. On Friday, Oct. 21, the center will host a dinner dance. The next day, there will be a tailgate party before UConn plays Rutgers University in its homecoming game.

“We’ll just have a fun weekend of remembering and celebrating,” Jaffe said.