Las Vegas is widely recognized as the gaming capital of the world, and $7.5 million in recent gifts from industry leaders MGM Resorts International, Boyd Gaming, and Station Casinos will ensure that UNLV's Harrah Hotel College remains the global standard for hospitality and gaming education.
Each has committed founder-level gifts of $2.5 million toward construction of Hospitality Hall, a new academic building for the Harrah Hotel College.
"The significance of these gifts for the college and for the overall success of the project cannot be overstated," said Stowe Shoemaker, dean of the Harrah Hotel College. "The support of industry giants like MGM, Boyd, and Station Casinos represents a huge investment in our students and our future standing in the hospitality arena."
Hospitality Hall will feature sweeping views of the Las Vegas Strip and serve as a bridge to the hospitality and gaming industry. With more than 93,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, and meeting space, the design will encourage interaction and a sense of community among students, faculty, and industry professionals. It will be located in the heart of UNLV's campus west of Beam Hall, which the college currently shares with the Lee Business School.
"This gift is yet another step in our company's unwavering commitment to supporting the future of hospitality education and the communities in which we operate," said Jim Murren, MGM Resorts chairman and chief executive officer. "This project is not only important for UNLV but important for our city, which sets the global standard for our industry-."
For nearly 50 years the college has supported the growth of the hospitality and gaming industries in Las Vegas and around the globe due in part to its strong research and education partnerships across the industry.
"We believe that a strong and vibrant university is essential to a world-class community, and that's why Boyd Gaming is committed to supporting the growth and success of UNLV," said Keith Smith, president and chief executive officer of Boyd Gaming. "We see the Hotel College project as an outstanding opportunity to continue our track record of support, and to help UNLV further strengthen its reputation as one of the world's leading hospitality programs."
Founders' names will be featured in specific areas/facilities within the building. Designed as a learning center showcasing all facets of the hospitality industry, Hospitality Hall will also include a student-run caf?, a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, interactive digital classroom, and an outdoor plaza.
"We are extremely pleased to have committed $2.5 million in support of the development of the new William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV," said Frank J. Fertitta III, chairman and CEO of Station Casinos LLC. "Having a world class hospitality facility and program will allow for the further development of the future leaders in the hospitality and gaming industry worldwide."
The Nevada Legislature approved $24.4 million for construction of Hospitality Hall in the recently completed 2015 legislative session. Remaining funding for the $56 million project will come from UNLV. Nearly $18.3 million now has been raised from gaming industry partners. With the commitments from MGM Resorts International, Boyd Gaming, and Station Casinos, nearly 75 percent of total construction costs has been secured.
In 2010, the Caesars Foundation provided $2.5 million to the Harrah Hotel College to drive the project's initial planning and design phase. Fundraising for building construction launched in February 2014 with a $2.5 million gift from Konami Corporation, and in April 2014 Las Vegas Sands committed $2.5 million as part of a gift to the Hotel College.
Fundraising continues for Hospitality Hall, with a groundbreaking anticipated by the end of 2015.