The Nicolas P. and Joan B. Retsinas Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
The Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design are honored to establish the Nicolas P. and Joan B. Retsinas Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and Senior Lecturer to honor Nic Retsinas MCP ’71 and his vision of inclusive and equitable housing programs and policy.
Nic’s leadership and distinguished career in public service and academia inspires current and future housing leaders to play a key role in housing research and education while building bridges across disciplines. This position, supported by a permanent endowment, will foster sustainable partnerships with Harvard programs, centers, and schools and solidify the GSD’s capacity to support influential – and critical – housing research and education for years to come.
Nic Retsinas MCP ’71 – A Leading Voice in Housing Policy
For decades, Nic Retsinas’ knowledge and experience has shaped the conversation around affordable housing policy at every level. Nic served as Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, working to improve communities and peoples’ lives. His passion led him to chair the Providence Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity International. Nic is the Immediate Past Chair of the Community Development Trust and is on the board of the Center for Responsible Lending.
At Harvard, Nic served as Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and Lecturer at the Graduate School of Design from 1998 to 2010, and as Senior Lecturer in Real Estate at the Harvard Business School from 2010 to 2019. He has been honored with numerous awards for his contributions to the housing field, including the Housing Leadership Award from the National Low Income Housing Coalition in 2001, induction into the National Housing Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Affordable Housing Hall of Fame in 2008. Nic was named the National Housing Conference Person of the Year in 2011.
Under his leadership, the Joint Center for Housing Studies flourished, promoting enhanced engagement with the public, private, and philanthropic sectors – expanding the Center’s capacity and influence. This period was marked by the publication of six books, the launch of the influential biennial America’s Rental Housing report, the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), and the growth of the Center’s Policy Advisory Board from 39 to 63 of the nation’s leading housing companies. Nic’s many contributions created a strong foundation for the Center’s continued success.
“Thank you to Nic and Joan Retsinas for their catalytic commitment to endow the Retsinas Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and Senior Lecturer position, which formally elevates the GSD’s decades-long shared history with the Center. For the first time, the GSD will provide a permanent home for this practitioner among our senior faculty. We are proud to cement the GSD’s enduring partnership with the Joint Center for Housing Studies in a way that reflects our shared values and dedication to the intersection of housing studies and design.” - Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture
Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and Senior Lecturer
Together with his wife, Joan, Nic pledged a leadership commitment to establish an endowment for the position of Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and Senior Lecturer at the GSD. Creation of this position ensures that the Center continues to be led by an eminent practitioner or scholar with demonstrated experience in the housing industry, or in housing policy or research. The Director and Senior Lecturer will serve as a respected member of the GSD Urban Planning and Design faculty with a research agenda that will advance the study of housing and real estate at the GSD and lead engagement with the public, private, and civic sectors.
“The Retsinas Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and Senior Lecturer endowment is critically important to fulfill the Center’s mission to advance understanding of housing issues and inform policy, industry, and advocacy. This forward-thinking position will propel the Center to the next level as we train and inspire the next generation of housing leaders.” - Chris Herbert, Joint Center for Housing Studies Managing Director
We embrace the opportunity to centralize housing study and research across Harvard. The position will not only strengthen ties between the Center and the GSD’s design disciplines but also expand relationships with Harvard’s Kennedy School, Law School, Business School, and T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Cross-disciplinary collaboration will fortify links between academia and industry while advancing the study of housing at the University.
Our sincere thanks to the donors who have contributed to the endowment for the
Nicolas P. and Joan B. Retsinas Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies and
Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Gradute School of Design:
Nicolas & Joan Retsinas
Home Depot USA
|Tri Pointe Homes
Ara K. Hovnanian
Floor & Decor
Owens Corning Foundation
Gypsum Management Supply
David & Rita Brickman
Barbara & Tom Stiles
|Installed Building Products
Arthur & Patti Segel
Huber Engineered Woods
Oldcastle APG, a CRH Company
Eugene & Susan Shanks
David & Hope Welles
Fred & Margaret Marino
At this time, the endowment is open for additional contributions. For more information about making a gift, please contact Courtney Ward at [email protected].