Texas McCombs News
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Texas McCombs News

New Salem Center for Policy

Houston real estate investor Khaled Salem, BBA ’05, spearheaded a generous new gift to promote innovation around free enterprise.

Khaled Salem, BBA ’05, spearheaded a major gift to expand center’s role, and will allow for additional investment in more targeted, modern data science methods for evaluating economic policy, as well as expansion of the curricula around economic and data insights.

A generous new gift has expended the commitment to free enterprise at the McCombs School of Business.

Texas McCombs has announced the naming and permanent home for the Salem Center for Policy. Previously known as the Center for Enterprise and Policy Analytics, the naming is made possible by an $11.3 million gift spearheaded by real estate investor Khaled Philip (known as “KK”) Salem, BBA ’05. Salem and the school’s world-class faculty and staff plan to work hand in hand to elevate this center to be among the finest in the world.

“Leadership and philanthropy are two cardinal pillars we celebrate here at McCombs,” Dean Jay Hartzell wrote in an email announcing the gift. “We are deeply grateful for this incredible gift, and we are excited about how it will help us continue to create opportunities for our students at McCombs.”

Starting out by flipping houses in Houston, Salem quickly moved into tackling larger and more complex commercial projects across Texas. Along the way, he founded Williamsburg Enterprises Ltd., a private holding company focused on commercial real estate and private equity investments. Today, he is the sole owner of the company and all of its holdings.

The generous gift will help expand the mission of the center and provide new opportunities for McCombs students. It will allow for additional investment in more targeted, modern data science methods for evaluating economic policy, as well as expansion of the curricula around economic and data insights. The goal of the center is to help students think more critically about how innovative ideas impact the world of free enterprise.

As immigrants who fled to the U.S. from Lebanon during the country’s civil war, Salem and his family know firsthand the importance of free enterprise and a free market system. The Salems learned that with hard work and sacrifice, anything was possible in their new homeland. In 2002, Salem was accepted to McCombs and while there, he quickly discovered a passion for the world of business. Inspired by his oncologist father, Salem started a foundation a decade later to help others. As he says, “When you help a total stranger, the person you help the most is yourself.”

Just as his experiences at The University of Texas at Austin shaped him, the new Salem Center for Policy is focused on providing students with knowledge and training about economic policies so they can be better informed, confident decision-makers who can positively influence our world economy.

The center will be permanently housed on the third floor in the former McCombs trading room space and led by Professor Carlos Carvalho, who is working with a team of faculty and staff. A more formal dedication ceremony is planned for later this year.

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