Howard University has announced a $20 million endowment gift from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation to launch the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership in the School of Business.
Named in honor of Marriott International president and CEO Arne Sorenson, who passed away earlier this month after battling pancreatic cancer, the center will offer a best-in-class program for future executives in the hospitality industry, including access to top hospitality executives and industry leaders. The foundation and university will jointly form a hospitality industry advisory council whose members will provide feedback on the curriculum, serve as guest lecturers and mentors, and provide hands-on learning opportunities to students in the program.
In addition, Marriott International has pledged a donation of $1 million to create the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund in support of the center's programmatic and career development components and is inviting other companies, organizations, and individuals to contribute to the effort.
"Lack of diversity in the executive ranks of companies across America has long been a headline and has been further elevated in the national conversation as we are in this important moment of racial reckoning," said Howard University president Wayne A.I. Frederick. "Through this partnership with the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and Marriott International, we are best positioned to further our existing commitment and address this most pressing issue....This program will be a game changer for Howard University students and the hospitality industry by designing unique educational opportunities that meet the future demands of the industry, shaping the already promising talents and passions of our business students, and connecting those students with meaningful careers in the industry."