September 25, 2007

Roger Mumford ’78 Takes Yellow Brook Farm to New Heights

His 110-acre property has received numerous awards and media exposure

Roger Mumford ’78 vividly remembers standing outside Kirby Hall of Civil Rights in the spring semester of his senior year and reading the inscription on the outside of the building.

“[I remember] something about the ‘ladder of success,’” he says. “I took this literally and soon owned many ladders after becoming a house painter early in my career! I interpreted the words to mean that sometimes we are at our best when we drive our own path.”

That path led Mumford, an economics and business graduate, to a passion for real estate development. His company, Matzel & Mumford Organization Inc., has received numerous sales, marketing, and design awards, including six Community of the Year Awards. It also was recognized in 1994 with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award (N.J. real estate category) sponsored by Ernst & Young, Inc. Magazine, and Merrill Lynch.

“Real estate development provides me with a platform to apply creativity, to think ahead of the curve and produce comfortable living experiences for people,” he says. “The most rewarding aspect of my work to date has been the relationships and reputation generated by the businesses I have founded.”

The accolades don’t stop with Matzel & Mumford. In 2002, Mumford purchased the 110-acre Yellow Brook Farm in Colts Neck, N.J., and improved the land with a variety of post and beam structures as well as equestrian facilities. One of the architects who collaborated with Mumford on the property entered it in a national kitchen contest, which it won. That led to a feature on HGTV. Colts Neck presented them with the Architectural Excellence Award, and the New Jersey Builders Association named Yellow Brook the state’s best-designed home last year. New Jersey made the pool house its Gold Winner for best-designed structure last year. Yellow Brook Farm also was featured in a 20-page spread in a new architectural book published earlier this year.

“Yellow Brook Farm is named after the brook on the property, which goes back to an Indian name given in the 17th century,” Mumford says. “The farm was a dairy operation in the 19th century and evolved into a nursery farm in the mid-20th century, apparently becoming the largest holly tree farm on the east coast by the 1970s. Parts of the farm are quite park-like in nature.”

Mumford still applies the lessons he learned as an economics and business major at Lafayette to his everyday life.

“Lafayette challenged me,” he recalls. “I majored in economics and found the whole subject a great discipline. In fact, the law of diminishing returns could describe my life in general. ‘The allocation of scarce resources among alternate uses’ – I remember so much that became ingrained in how I think, which I have been told is somewhat different from the norm.”

He continues to actively support the college that taught him so much and is pleased with how Lafayette continues to grow.

“Involvement and support of Lafayette remains an important priority to me as I prefer to support those institutions that work and are well-managed and student-focused,” he says. “I remain incredibly impressed with the College and have been delighted with the energy, experience, and insight of our new President Dan Weiss.”

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