Ira Lubert’s success started 44 years ago in McGonigle Hall.
Lubert, then a Penn State sophomore and member of the wrestling team, was set to face Don Carden, a senior heavyweight wrestler on Temple’s squad. He was nervous, but ended up defeating his opponent in a close match en route to a 5-0-1 record in his first collegiate season.
The 64-year-old credits much of his life’s success to this match at Temple in 1970.
“Every time I drive up Broad Street … and see McGonigle Hall, I get fixated, because that really changed my life,” Lubert said. “Three years later, I ended up working for IBM in Philadelphia … and meeting Pete Musser.”
This anecdote was the opening of Lubert’s speech for winning the Musser Excellence in Leadership award, which he received last Wednesday night at Mitten Hall. The award, named after Pete Musser, is “the highest honor Temple University’s Fox School of Business affords,” according to a program given out at the ceremony. Lubert credited Musser as one of the main reasons he has been able to have such a successful business career.
“[Musser] has been my mentor, and the first private equity job I had, I had with him,” Lubert said in an interview with The Temple News. “He taught me a lot about business and life, so it’s really special for me.”
Lubert was the first recipient of the award since Lewis Katz, who received the honor last year. During his ceremony, Katz made a $25 million donation to the university, the largest in Temple history. In late June, three days before he died in a plane crash in Bedford, Massachusetts, Lubert said Katz wanted to introduce him in the award ceremony on Wednesday.
Lubert added that being the first Musser award winner since Katz was a great privilege.
“There’s no replacement for Lewis Katz,” Lubert said. “[He was] not only one of the greatest philanthropists in this region, but [was also] just a great guy, and gave back to so many folks, not just Temple.”
Lubert has worked in the real estate and private equity sector industries for more than 40 years, and is co-founder of Lubert-Adler Real Estate, which was founded in 1997 and employs more than 30 investment professionals with a wide depth of knowledge in the real estate business.
Dean Adler, who co-founded the company with Lubert, said his partner has been one of the best venture capitalists and real estate investors he’s seen because he “leads by example.” He also said Lubert’s entrepreneurial skills are essential in business.
“We’re in a world of entrepreneurs today,” Adler said. “Ira’s always been an individual. Even though he started at IBM, he realizes [he’s] much better off using his own brain and instincts to thrive as an entrepreneur.”
Along with the Musser Award, the Fox School of Business handed out six additional Excellence in Leadership awards: Excellence in Teaching, Research, Faculty Service, Administrative Service, Student Leadership, and Alumni Achievement. Dr. David Schuff, Dr. Sudipta Basu, Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Mr. Charles M. Allen, Ms. Zahra Safa, and Mr. Frank Tidikis received each award respectively.
Lubert and Musser also announced their co-founding of the Warren “Pete” Musser Professorship in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, where famous business professionals will spend a semester at Fox to teach and mentor students, helping to kick-start their early aspirations in the business world.
Lubert concluded his ceremonial speech by declaring there are two type of people in the world: farmers and miners. Farmers are people who take but also give back to the world, while miners take but rarely give anything back.
“No need to guess who Pete is,” Lubert said of his analogy. “Pete Musser is a farmer.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at email@example.com and on twitter @Steve_Bohnel