John Colvin was an alumnus of the University and a principal owner of Questar Properties. He was engaged over many years in giving back to the community and his industry. He served as president of the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Home Builders, and served on multiple statewide commissions under many governors for the state of Maryland.
John Colvin credited his late mother, Neomie Colvin, as his greatest role model. She possessed only a high school education, but shattered the glass-ceiling. She first worked as a real estate appraiser in 1935, eventually becoming a commercial real estate broker, developing a client list of Baltimore’s premier developers. John often said, “She had a calculator for a mind.” As a youngster he watched his mother intently. Years later, he set his sights on the top decision-maker position, saying, “I wanted to be the guy who made it happen or pulled the plug—the developer; the builder.”
The Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development stands on the cutting edge of real estate education. “Location, location, location!” in education as well as in real estate, according to Colvin. With the school less than ten miles from the nation’s capital, Colvin pointed out: “This region is an unparalleled laboratory for the study of real estate development. There is post-industrial Baltimore City, ripe with investment opportunities to the north, and the nation’s capital with its monumental attractions to the south. There are classic aging suburban areas, the steep slopes of Western Maryland mountains and the fragile estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay. The first planned city in America being restored at historic St. Mary’s City in Southern Maryland and there are Civil War battlefields in Central Maryland to be considered. Finally, Maryland encompasses the challenges of recreational and resort development from the ski slopes of Western Maryland to the Atlantic Coast beaches of the Eastern Shore. Indeed, virtually every development opportunity imaginable is right here in Maryland.”
Colvin’s pride in the University of Maryland was personal and profound, as he said at the time the Institute was established: “It is my privilege to give back to my alma mater and my chosen profession.” The Colvin Institute, thanks to John and Karen Colvin, is an asset to the University, to the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and to the students who participate in the real estate programs.