The Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate was established with the aim to become a leading academic center for the interdisciplinary study of real estate. The University of Notre Dame launched the Institute due to a generous gift from Edward J. Fitzgerald and Kathryn S. Fitzgerald:
Edward (Ward) earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Notre Dame ('85) and an MBA from Harvard University ('89). He is Chief Executive Officer and Senior Managing Principal of Exeter Property Group, an international real estate private equity fund investment group and real estate development and operating company.
Ward and his wife Kathy (Penn State '87) are committed to community philanthropy focused on Catholic education, homelessness, and medical research. They have funded medical research grants for the Ehlers-Danlos Society, Dysautonomia Society, numerous U.S. hospitals, and universities including the Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy. The Fitzgeralds are also members of The Papal Foundation, and Ward served as a Vice-Chair for the World Meeting of Families in 2015, for which Ward and Kathy were named Knight/Dame Grand Cross in the Order of Saint Gregory the Great. The couple has three children: Francie (ND '17), Maggie (Northwestern '18), and Teddy (ND '21).