James R. Gillespie Named Distinguished Alumnus by College of Applied Health Sciences
- Oct 12, 2009
Urbana, Illinois – Jim Gillespie, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Parsippany, New Jersey, has received the 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was honored for his outstanding contributions to business and community growth through leadership and philanthropy.
Gillespie pursued studies in Recreation and Park Management through the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1967 and a master’s degree in 1968. He taught 6th through 8th grades and coached sports programs at grade schools in Ludlow, Illinois, and Memphis, Tennessee. He then joined the YMCA in Spartanburg, South Carolina, as youth director, and went on to a similar position in LaGrange, Illinois, where he also opened a new YMCA branch.
In the mid-1970s, Gillespie embarked upon a new career in real estate, starting as a sales associate with Gallery of Homes. His success quickly led the firm to move him into management, and he drew upon his teaching and coaching experience to become an effective vice president and office manager. He then served in a variety of management positions with Thorsen Realtors, which was acquired by Coldwell Banker. In 1981, Coldwell Banker began its franchise program, and he was one of the original 10 executives chosen to run the residential affiliates. He has led the company since 2004, overseeing nearly 4,000 offices and more than 120,000 brokers and sales associates in 26 countries. In 2006, Mr. Gillespie celebrated Coldwell Banker’s 100th anniversary by launching a fundraising campaign for Habitat for Humanity, the real estate firm’s National Charity of Choice, raising more than $6 million. He also is a leading spokesperson for the real estate industry, appearing regularly on CNBC, CNN, PBS and other prestigious media outlets.
“Jim Gillespie’s remarkable success reflects the core missions of the College of Applied Health Sciences—service to others, improving lives, building strong communities,” says Dean Tanya Gallagher. “He leads by example, and we are truly proud of him as a role model for us all.”