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The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation has awarded a grant of $1 million to the School of Hospitality Administration, which will help create a career services center to prepare students to enter the hospitality industry. The gift is the third from the foundation since 2002. Previous gifts totaling $750,000 supported renovations at the school in 2002 and 2007.
The new Marriott Career Center will be a resource and gathering space for students, faculty, and industry professionals. The center will house a media library for career-related research that will enable students to explore career choices in the industry. Faculty will be able to conduct seminars there for groups of students on topics such as career success, and hospitality industry professionals will be invited to speak with students about career paths within the industry and to interview graduating students. In addition to naming the center in recognition of the foundation’s support, SHA’s director of career services will henceforth be the director of the Marriott Career Center.
“We view this as an integral part of our overall goal to provide students with the necessary tools for gainful employment upon graduation,” says Brian Shockley, SHA assistant dean for finance and administration. “We are very thankful for the vital support the Marriott Foundation continues to give us.”
The mission of the private family foundation, currently under the direction of Richard E. Marriott and J. W. Marriott, Jr., is primarily focused on helping young people secure a promising future by supporting secondary and higher education. This has translated to generous support for hospitality programs at colleges and universities throughout the country.
“Boston University is not only committed to providing its SHA students with an excellent education, it is committed to providing students with excellent career opportunities,” says foundation executive director Anne Gunsteens. “That commitment to student success beyond the walls of the classroom is very aligned with the foundation’s mission.”
Separate from the foundation, Marriott International has also been a strong supporter of SHA. “Marriott has provided career-launching manager-in-training programs and full-time employment to our graduating seniors, as well as hands-on internships,” says Shockley. “Each year, they participate in our mock interview sessions and career workshops. Our students receive the benefit of their professional guidance and insight into pursuing a successful career within a global, demanding, and fast-changing industry.”
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation gift is one of many in the ongoing $1 billion Campaign for Boston University, the first comprehensive fundraising effort in the University’s history.
Rich Barlow contributed to this article.