Buono Family Gives $2 Million to College of Charleston

Alumni, All News

Mark Buono ’81 and Judy Buono '22 (M.Ed.) have established the Buono Endowed Professorship in Commercial Real Estate and the Mark and Judy Buono Endowed Scholarship for education students.

Mark and Judy Buono

The College of Charleston School of Business and School of Education will have enhanced faculty and student experiences thanks to a $2 million gift by Mark Buono ’81 and Judy Buono ’22 (M.Ed.).  

The Buono Endowed Professorship in Commercial Real Estate will be an endowed faculty position in the School of Business that will elevate the distinction of the real estate discipline at the university.  The fund will supplement the base salary of a tenured faculty member, which will enable the College to recruit more competitively for a candidate to both teach in the Commercial Real Estate Finance program and serve as director of the Carter Real Estate Center.

The Commercial Real Estate Finance program has flourished thanks to the Carter Real Estate Center, which has built momentum for the College’s real estate program by engaging the local community, arranging for cutting-edge tools such as CoStar and partnering with local and national professional organizations. Since 2018, the number of declared commercial real estate finance majors has grown from 33 to 190. 

“The program has grown substantially since it was created a short time ago,” says Mark Buono, who is also a professor of practice in finance and is serving as interim director of the Carter Real Estate Center. “The program will only continue to be successful with excellent faculty and staff, and we hope our gift will allow the College to attract top-notch faculty.” 

The Mark and Judy Buono Endowed Scholarship will support rising juniors, seniors or graduate students majoring in education. The scholarship will enable future teachers to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the School of Education and graduate to serve their communities and prepare future generations for success. 

The School of Education started preparing P-12 teachers in 1937. Today, the school graduates 100 future teachers each year, with more than 60% staying in the Lowcountry. In the past five years, in a testament to the quality of their education, nearly 200 College of Charleston alumni have been recognized as Teacher of the Year nominees or recipients. 

Judy Buono knew of the School of Education’s long history of producing qualified, engaged teachers. While in the master of education program, Judy interacted with other students who were also passionate about teaching but learned some were facing financial barriers to complete their degrees.  

“I have always believed that all children in our country deserve a quality education in which they are taught by dedicated teachers committed to their profession,” she says. “Our hope is that scholarships will diminish the barriers that can hinder individuals who are interested in becoming teachers from pursuing their dreams.” 

In addition to these two important new funds, the Buonos supported the College’s annual CofC Day event, which took place on March 13 and 14, 2024. Their CofC Day Challenge to provide $50,000 at the 750-donor milestone served as an important motivator and is helping build a stronger culture of philanthropy at the College. They will provide a similar challenge for CofC Day in 2025. 

“The College is fortunate to count Mark and Judy Buono as alumni, donors and advocates,” says President Andrew T. Hsu. “Their extraordinary philanthropic investment will move us closer toward our goal of becoming a national university by elevating distinctive programs like real estate and education. Their example of giving back to their alma mater is truly inspiring, and we are grateful for their generosity.” 

Along with their financial contributions, the Buonos serve on committees and boards – Mark on the College of Charleston Foundation Board and Judy on the Student Affairs Board of Advocates. With engaged and committed alumni like the Buonos, future leaders will graduate from the College with a strong foundation to thrive in their future fields. 

Add the Buonos: “The College of Charleston is part of our family culture, and we are proud to be CofC alumni. We were motivated to make this gift to support two areas at the College of Charleston that we particularly care about and wish to see prosper to their greatest potential.” 

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