Marriott Foundation funds HRIM addition
University of Delaware

Marriott Foundation funds HRIM addition

The University of Delaware’s Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management (HRIM) has received a new $559,000 commitment from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. The generous gift will fund the construction of a state-of-the-art classroom addition to the Marriott Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware, an on-campus hotel facility that also currently serves as a classroom for five HRIM Lodging Module courses.

Sheryl Kline, chair of the department, called the gift a milestone that will enable HRIM to dramatically increase the number of students who can take courses at the hotel. In addition, she said, more undergraduate classes and graduate and executive education courses will be offered on the property to afford students further experiential learning opportunities in the hospitality industry.

“The HRIM program has a long and strong partnership with both the Marriott Foundation and Marriott International Inc.,” said Kline. “Next year, Marriott’s Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its on-campus operations and commitment to educating UD students through the innovative Lodging Module hotel management curriculum.

“We at HRIM are currently celebrating our 25th year as a UD department, and we have an additional tangible benefit to celebrate as our relationship with Marriott has resulted in approximately 15 percent of our alumni having successful careers with Marriott International.”

This is not the first time HRIM has benefited from the generosity of the Marriott Foundation. 

Support from the foundation is currently enabling HRIM to host Peter Wang, dean of the Business School of Dalian University of Foreign Languages in China, as a visiting scholar.

The department also previously received funding from the foundation to establish and support the Marriott Hospitality and Tourism Center, Vita Nova Restaurant and the Raub Hall Conference Room, as well as the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Scholarship, which supports the education of HRIM students.

This past October, when J.W. (Bill) Marriott Jr. came to UD’s campus to speak as part of the 2013-14 Chaplin Tyler Executive Leadership Series, many HRIM students were in the audience to hear the hotelier and philanthropist firsthand. Marriott and his daughter, Debbie Marriott Harrison, who accompanied him on his visit, were eager to share with the audience their combined insight on success. The success of Marriott, the pair reiterated multiple times, is a result of the company’s focus on people — both customers and employees.

K. Elliott Jones, a junior HRIM student, has felt the impact of the Marriott Foundation’s generosity firsthand; he was awarded a scholarship based on demonstrated leadership.

“The [Marriott] family’s commitment to rewarding students who are successful, and to education as a whole, is spectacular,” said Jones, who is also chapter president of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality and the American Hotel and Lodging Association. “They truly go above and beyond for students, especially those studying hotel and restaurant management.”

As a result of the funding and his leadership, Jones recently had the opportunity to travel to Marriott Corporate Headquarters in Bethesda, Md., with a few select HRIM students.

“Anne Gunsteens, executive director of the Marriott Foundation, set the whole thing up and showed us everything from the concept hotel rooms to the executive board room where Mr. Marriott had held a meeting literally minutes before we walked in,” said Jones, adding that the impact of the Marriott Foundation on UD’s campus is evident.

“Their presence here has really impacted my education,” said Jones. “I pay the University for some of my education with financial support from the Marriott Foundation, I take some of my classes in a center funded by the Marriott Foundation and I have completed an internship at the Courtyard Newark that was built into my curriculum.” 

Aretah Ettarh, a senior HRIM student and recipient of a Marriott Foundation scholarship, also attended the tour and was grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the foundation.

“We learned about the charity work of the foundation, including the scholarships, and it was great to see and interact with the people who were directly able to make the scholarship possible for me and others like me,” said Ettarh. “I’ve met a lot of really great people as a result of being in this major and I’m really thankful for the Marriott Foundation because the scholarship I received was another tool that has helped foster my success in the HRIM program at UD.”

Ettarh added that the experience has opened her to a future of philanthropy.

“I hope one day I can be in a position where I’m able to give back to students who are working toward their degrees, because I know how important these gifts are,” said Ettarh.

“The Marriott Foundation is pleased to have the opportunity to provide promising students like Elliott and Aretah with not just scholarship support, but also the kind of real world experiences and mentoring necessary for them to reach their full potential in the hospitality industry,” said Gunsteens. “That is why we are so excited by the possibilities that will emerge as a result of the foundation’s investment in this new classroom addition to the Courtyard Newark at the University of Delaware.” 

About the Marriott Foundation

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation was established in 1965 with the purpose of giving back to the community. Under the current direction of J.W. Marriott, Jr. and Richard E. Marriott, the Marriott Foundation is dedicated to helping youth secure a promising future, especially through education on the secondary and higher education levels, mentoring and youth leadership programs. Equally important are organizations that help provide relief from hunger and disasters; support people with disabilities; and create gainful employment opportunities for vulnerable youth and adults.  

Article by Kathryn Meier