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Meet Your Faculty – Dr. Philip Seagraves

Department: Finance and Business Law (Real Estate)

What was your favorite subject in school?

I know I should say real estate or at least finance but over the years, I’ve really loved art classes ranging from ceramics, to painting and photography. These courses really stretch a different part of my brain and gave me a break from the regularities of readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmatic.

What was your least favorite subject in school?

My least favorite subject had to be French. To be fair to French and my teacher Mademoiselle Seitz, I took this class with a bunch of friends and none of us paid much attention in class. As you could imagine, my grade in the class is a big part of my bad memory. Later, travelling in Paris, I regretted not paying more attention but I survived and went on to really enjoy Spanish.

What were you doing before you came to Whitewater?

Last year I was a visiting Professor down in Mississippi. This was definitely a Deep South experience. I loved it! Being raised in Atlanta, I’m used to the southern culture but what most people don’t realize is that Atlanta is truly a cut out from much of the South. Most of my friends growing up were from other places such as New York, Chicago, or California having moved with parents relocating to the bustling Atlanta suburbs that are the homes to numerous corporate headquarters and regional offices. At Mississippi State, I taught real estate courses on the basics, investing and finance. I continue to teach these subjects at Whitewater in addition to real estate development – a personal favorite of mine.

What made you want to teach?

For me, teaching is the small part I can play in making the world a better place. I’m certainly passionate about real estate, but I view it as a medium for making a much broader, more important impact on my students. I think it’s much more important to enter the working world with an appreciation for how to interact with others, to make the absolute most of today rather than always living the past or future, and how to use your own skills and talents to help others. Many of these lessons can be demonstrated through the business of real estate and the care I can take teaching my students and with a true concern for their growth and development. Few things are more rewarding than getting letters and emails from former students letting me know that I made a difference in their lives. This is the real payoff.

What research are you currently working on?

I have to say I love what I do. I’m able to teach students what I have learned while at the same time spend a good chunk of my time banging my head into areas I know little about. In order to stay strong, you must exercise your muscles. The brain is no different! Nobody can live forever, but exploring the corners of real estate finance and economics to help all of us understand how it works, helps me to feel young and alive. I’ve been recently working on projects in some really fun areas such as the differences between men and women in real estate brokerage, looking to figure out if one gender is “better” than the other. Of course you can imagine how controversial a topic like this can be! I’m also looking at why loans on real estate like office building and shopping centers get into trouble so that we can better predict which of these loans will be more risky. It would be great for a bank to know if a borrower was more likely to stop paying.

What do you like to do outside of the College of Business & Economics?

Well, I’m a family man with a wife and four kids. Our kids are between the ages of 9 and 16 so they keep us pretty busy shuttling from here to there. Outside of that I love adventure. Some of my favorite activities include offshore fishing, off road motorcycle riding, scuba diving, and camping. I’m hoping some of my students will introduce me to ice fishing this winter. I’m also a pretty avid real estate investor with projects in Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina, and a new one here in Wisconsin. I’m no Donald Trump, but I really enjoy the risks and rewards – the adventure – of real estate investing. I’m hoping my next venture will be a vineyard in the North Georgia Mountains.

What is something that students would be surprised to learn about you?

I really love numbers, analysis and research but I sometimes have to use a different part of my brain – still solving problems – but different ones. I love to work on old, large, heavy things. A few years ago, I started restoring an old commercial fishing boat that’s nearly 40 tons with a nearly 5 foot propeller and a big turbo-diesel engine with 1100 pounds of torque. There are still systems, pipes, wires, and entire systems that I have not figured out what they even do! This adventure started by running it for 8 days straight 24 hours per day from Manhattan through the North Atlantic all the way to Savannah, GA. Then last year, I also started restoring an old Caterpillar bulldozer that I one day hope to use on another of my crazy, long term projects – the vineyard I mentioned earlier.

What is something about teaching that was unexpected when you first began?

I’ve been amazed at how quickly some of my students pick things up. Within a few weeks of class every semester, I invariably get students who have already taken some of the concepts I’ve introduced and expanded on them, put them to use, and are eager to learn more. This makes the time spent preparing and getting ready to teach worth it all. Of course some students are eager to get through the class and on to other things; and I certainly understand that too. It’s just a really special thing to make connections with students who are eager sponges wanting to soak up whatever knowledge they can. It’s inspiring and helps keep me going!

About Jolene Check

Marketing Specialist for the College of Business and Economics.
This entry was posted in CoBE Staff, Finance and Business Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Meet Your Faculty – Dr. Philip Seagraves

  1. deli52 says:

    hmm good

  2. As a real estate attorney in Tampa Florida it looks like the UW is lucky to have Dr. Seagraves on your faculty. He seems like the kind of teacher I would have loved to have when I was an undergraduate. I specialize in foreclosures and short sales down here in Florida. We are pretty much the capitol of the foreclosure world so we know about them and short sales. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

    Barbara Brown, PA

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