Download Hi-Res Image • From the left, Center for Real Estate Associate Director Sharon Nakamura Brown, Merage School Dean Eric Spangenberg, Bixby Land Company President Aaron Hill, Cindy Halford, Center for Real Estate Faculty Director Ed Coulson, Center for Real Estate Advisory Board Co-Chair Watty Watson

UCI Paul Merage School of Business Center for Real Estate receives gift to support creation of Bill Halford Family and Bixby Land Company Student Award endowed fund

Irvine, CA - (July 24, 2018) - The University of California, Irvine Paul Merage School of Business today announced it has received a monetary gift from the Bixby Land Company to support the creation of a new endowed fund at the Center for Real Estate. The Bill Halford Family and Bixby Land Company Student Award will support merit-based graduate or undergraduate students who have demonstrated a strong interest in pursuing real estate studies and participating in the center’s activities.

Halford, who died earlier this year, was chief executive of the Newport Beach-based commercial real estate developer Bixby Land Co. The fourth-generation member of the Bixby family also served as chairman of the Center for Real Estate Advisory Board at the Merage School of Business during its formative years, starting in 2006.

A passionate supporter of higher education, he was a catalyst for the school’s renewed focus on its graduate-level real estate program, appearing as a guest lecturer in various classes, as well as assembling and moderating educational symposiums at the center and playing a key role in establishing an active committee structure and organization for the center’s advisory board.

“This gift is a tribute to Bill’s memory as a visionary leader who believed in supporting the next generation of real estate professionals,” said Ed Coulson, professor of economics & public policy and director of the Center for Real Estate. “He was a strong advocate of mentorship and worked with our leaders to launch our program. This award is the perfect way to continue his commitment to guiding UCI students.”

 “Bill believed in the center’s mission, and was proud of the positive impact it had on seasoned professionals as well as the bright young students,” said Aaron Hill, president of Bixby Land Co. “On behalf of the company and the family, we are pleased to dedicate this gift as a tribute Bill’s life and his ongoing legacy in Orange County. It is the center’s goal to grow this endowment with further contributions from members of the community who wish to honor Bill’s memory.”

Additional donations to the fund are being accepted. Contact Sharon Nakamura-Brown, associate director, at

About The Paul Merage School of Business

The Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine offers four dynamic MBA programs – plus PhD, specialty masters and undergraduate business degrees – that prepare business leaders for our digitally driven world. Through our programs, students acquire the exceptional ability to grow their organizations through strategic innovation, analytical decision-making, digital information technology and collaborative execution. While the Merage School is relatively young, it has quickly grown to rank consistently among the top five percent of all business programs worldwide through exceptional student recruitment, world-class faculty, a strong alumni network and close relationships with both individual business executives and global corporations. Additional information is available at