Marriott International's J Willard and Alice S Marriott Foundation has committed US$20 million to launch the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at Howard University, a historically black school in Washington.
The endowment was created to honour the memory of former Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, who died on 15 February following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
The centre, which aims to expand opportunities for Howard students and develop future executives in the hospitality industry, will be housed within Howard University's School of Business.
The centre's advisory council members will include representatives from Howard, the Marriott family foundation and Marriott International as well as corporate hospitality executives, industry practitioners, association leaders and academics. This same council will also serve as guest lecturers and mentors and provide hands-on learning opportunities for students.
"Arne's passion for creating a culture of opportunity brought real change in the executive ranks of our company," said JW Marriott Jr, Marriott International's executive chairman and chairman of the board, in a statement. "But work remains to be done. Our industry needs a pipeline of diverse leadership talent and that's exactly what this centre will achieve."
Concurrently, Marriott has established the Arne M Sorenson Hospitality Fund, which will support the new centre's programming and career development platforms. Marriott has pledged an initial donation of US$1 million but is inviting other companies, organisations and individuals to further grow the fund.
"This innovative programme will foster leadership excellence and help drive greater inclusion at the most senior levels of the hospitality industry. We hope that other hospitality companies will join us in designing the programme and providing experiential opportunities to generate talent that will meet the needs of the industry well into the future.”
Source: Travel Weekly Asia