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“It used to be that Wall Street was the career for angels and gods, and if you went into real estate after college, you were a dramaticallylower form of life,” says Cassidy Turley vice chairman Robert Billingsley, who ignored the stereotype and entered real estate shortly after graduating Georgetown in ’68. Things have changed.
Georgetown honors Cassidy Turley's Robert Billingsley
With so much private and public investment money going into real estate, the career now has more patina, attracting more students. After teaching at Cornell for 10 years, Robert (second from left) is working on building a real estate graduate program at his alma mater with Cohen & Steers’ Bob Steers and Tim McBride, a member of a prominent NJ real estate family. Georgetown and real estate are the perfect marriage, he says—the school counts execs like Citigroup’s Joe Sprouls, Goldman Sachs’ Mike Graziano, Lazard’s Matthew Lustig, former MTA exec director Lee Sander, and former Port Authority chair Anthony Coscia among its alumni. Last month, the university and 700 attendees honored Robert at its 11th annual Wall Street Alliance scholarship dinner, above, which recognized two outstanding New Yorkers who have helped raise the school’s profile in finance—and he was the first member of the real estate industry to receive such an honor.

Cassidy Turley's Robert Billingsley
Robert was born into real estate—his father was a Bronx developerand his mother was a Westchester broker, so the bug eventually bit him, too. His career began at Cross & Brown in ‘71, where he metBob Abrams, and he soon became one of the founders of Abrams Benisch Riker, the predecessor to Colliers ABR and Cassidy Turley. He’s been working with Steve Riker and Mark Boisi ever since, he says, and is actively involved in helping the firm’s existing clients and new business initiatives. On top of repping buildings, he’s launching a third opportunistic investment fund, worth $100M. When he’s not raising funds or cheering on Georgetown basketball, ask him about his eclectic graduating class: Bill Clinton (whom he nominated forfreshman class president), WSJ columnist Dan Henniger, songwriter Bill Danoff (“Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Afternoon Delight”), and author Robert Sabbag (“Snowblind”).