The man behind the celebs: Bobby Turner brings Ashton Kutcher to Penn

K. Robert "Bobby' Turner, right, and tennis star Andre Agassi. Credit: Provided
K. Robert “Bobby’ Turner, right, and tennis star Andre Agassi. Credit: Provided

Real estate mogul K. Robert “Bobby” Turner has brought celebrities like Eva Longoria and Andre Agassi to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for his speaker series. On Wednesday, he brings Ashton Kutcher. But the man behind the celebrities may set the local media atwitter while he himself is virtually ignored.

Ironically, it’s Turner’s ideas about education, urban real estate development and definition of success in business that could change the world.

Turner, CEO and co-founder of the $3.5 billion Canyon Capital Realty Advisors based in Los Angeles, is a radical in an Armani suit. He tells Wharton students: “You should not define success by making financial change working at an investment bank. Rather, you should define it by the amount of meaningful change you make in the world.”

To encourage new definitions of success, he is working closely with Wharton to design a multi-disciplinary social impact curriculum that he will fund.

“Generations Y and Z want different things than previous generations did. I want to better prepare them with the necessary tools to be able to seek out and obtain jobs that inspire them,” said Turner.

He cites the success of shoe retailer TOMS, which donates a pair of shoes to a third world country for every pair purchased, as an indication of changing social mores. His dream for the program is “a student, who has an idea to solve childhood obesity, will be able to consult with the medical school and the nursing school as well as their Wharton professors.”

Turner practices what he preaches. His new fund, the Canyon Multifamily Impact Fund, will leverage his charter school partnership with former tennis star Andre Agassi to holistically upgrade the neighborhood in which they own buildings.

“A real estate developer makes money by raising rents or eliminating vacancies,” he said. “Buildings typically have 100 percent turnover in 18 to 24 months. The empty apartments not collecting rents are a huge cost to the landlord. Parents will want to live near their children’s schools. We plan to add security to make the neighborhoods safer. Thus, the buildings will become desirable.

Locally, Turner’s Canyon Agassi Charter School Fund was instrumental in establishing the KIPP charter schools in North Philadelphia. While acknowledging that advocating for charter schools can be controversial, he insists they are excellent operators.

Bringing Ashton Kutcher to town

Ashton Kutcher, who is television’s highest paid actor for his role on “Two and Half Men,” will be speaking Wednesday at Penn. The event, open only to school staff, students and alumni, is sold out. About 3,000 will be there.

“We announced Ashton Kutcher’s talk and it sold out in two hours,” Turner proudly noted.

He expects Kutcher, who is revered in the tech world for his early investment and support of Skype, Foursquare and Flipboard, to talk about how having a sick brother affected his life and his charity Thorn that fights against the sexual exploitation of children using technology.

At the Teen Choice Awards, Kutcher urged kids to work hard (“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work”). The heartthrob defined sexy as “being really smart.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

The Word

The Word: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie finally…

Well, everybody, it finally happened. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went and got themselves hitched — according to noted scandal sheet the Associated Press —…

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

NFL

Giants vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

The Giants wrap up their extended preseason campaign Thursday night by playing host to the Patriots.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…