The Shenehon Center for Real Estate has launched the Commercial Real Estate Specialist Program, designed to improve commercial real estate career opportunities for members of minority groups that have been historically underrepresented in the field. Nationwide, fewer than 1 percent of commercial real estate professionals are minorities, well below the averages for many other professions, including medicine and law.

The 26-session program offers evening classes in commercial property and asset management, leasing, law, ethics and other related subjects. Participants worked with instructors in networking and attended industry-sponsored seminars.

More than 133 applicants competed for the first cohort of 25. All students received a full scholarship.

The program is one of many cited by St. Thomas in a self-study that led to its recent “community engagement” classification by the Carnegie Foundation.