Shenehon Center for Real Estate

Research. Education. Outreach.

2017 Inductee: Ralph Burnet


It seems Ralph knew what he wanted to accomplish early in life. After leaving Bermel Smaby Realtors®, Ralph started his own realty company. He most likely did not foresee in 1973 being nominated and inducted into the Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame, but he did have a vision.

Those who worked with Burnet echoed the passion and goodwill to others he espoused his entire career stating,

“The key to Ralph’s success is he surrounds himself with great people… [and] he is proud to be the springboard for other people’s careers.”

By 1998, Burnet had grown his realty company to the 4th largest residential brokerage in the United States, and expanded further through merging with the Coldwell Banker name. Today, Coldwell Banker Burnet is one of the largest residential real estate companies in the United States impacting many thousands of lives annually.

Beyond Mr. Burnet’s professional passions, he has shown a passion for philanthropy. Over the years, Burnet has been a force in advancing Minnesota community health, the arts, and Minnesota professional athletics. Just as an example, his philanthropy for the art community expanded even into his professional work in real estate with the hotel developments, Le Meridian and The W, where Burnet not only furnished them in art, but also created, at Le Meridian, a gallery to showcase local artists. Towards sports, Burnet brought the Senior PGA tour to the metro in 1993 to the Burnet Senior Classic (1993-2000). The United Hospital Foundation honored Burnet with the Service to Humanity Award for the impact to the community and contributions brought by the tournament. Today the event is known as the 3M championship and is the largest fundraising event in the state.

His mission still impacts the employees of Coldwell Banker Burnet, as the company maintains support for education through the Ralph Burnet scholarship where two $1,000 scholarships are locally awarded and a $2,000 scholarship is awarded. The scholarships are awarded based on high academic achievement, SAT or ACT scores and extra-curricular activities with an emphasis on leadership and volunteerism.

The Shenehon Center for Real Estate, the University of St. Thomas, and the real estate community honors Ralph Burnet for his work and leadership as a 2017 inductee into the Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame.