The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation has committed $2.5 million toward construction of Hospitality Hall, a modern academic facility that will strengthen the UNLV Harrah Hotel College’s position as a global leader in hospitality education.
Momentum from donors like the Marriott Foundation has kept construction plans on track, with groundbreaking scheduled for March 2016 and an expected move-in date of fall 2017.
Support for Hospitality Hall is just one example of the Marriott Foundation’s two-decade commitment to advancing innovative hospitality programs within colleges and universities across the United States.
“Championing hospitality education is one of the Foundation’s key initiatives,” said Marriott Foundation executive director Anne Gunsteens. “We are excited to share in the mission of Hospitality Hall, which is to provide a world-class learning space where research and industry partnerships thrive and students receive the preparation they need to succeed in the demanding world of hospitality.”
According to Harrah Hotel College dean Stowe Shoemaker, the 93,000 square-foot academic building will reflect the look of modern hospitality education. “This building is designed to be accessible and collaborative, with open halls and common areas for students to interact with other students, educators and industry.”
Building features include multi-purpose meeting spaces, convertible classrooms, a student-run café, beverage and PGA Management laboratories and a fully equipped executive kitchen.
With its recent $2.5 million donation, the Marriott Foundation is now an official Founder of the building, joining the ranks of Boyd Gaming, the Caesars Foundation, Konami Corporation, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International and Station Casinos, all of which are backing the $59 million project. Founders’ gifts, along with additional industry partner donations, have helped the Harrah Hotel College raise $21.8 million in commitments, moving the college closer to its $30 million private funding goal. The state has allocated funds for the remaining costs, allowing construction activities to move forward.
For nearly 50 years the Harrah Hotel College has supported growth in hospitality and gaming in Las Vegas and around the globe due in part to its strong research and education partnerships with industry. Supporters like the Marriott Foundation, said Shoemaker, will help the college stay at the forefront of hospitality education.
“The Marriott name is synonymous with excellence in hospitality,” said Shoemaker, “and we are eager share this commitment to excellence with each and every student who passes through the new academic building.”
The Marriott Foundation has elected to name the building’s executive kitchen, which will accommodate all Food and Beverage course needs while serving the broader needs of students, educators and the UNLV campus.
“The concept for the state-of-the-art executive kitchen perfectly aligns with the values of the Marriott Foundation,” said Gunsteens. “We want to encourage true experiential learning for students in a way that will not only advance them as professionals, but will also teach them about providing service to the community.”
As fundraising for the new academic building continues, the college is launching an alumni and friends campaign in which individuals can buy pavers engraved with their names to be displayed in the walkway of Hospitality Hall’s alumni garden. Details on the campaign are pending.