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Marriott endows Howard University with $20 million to create hospitality program honoring Arne Sorenson

Feb. 24, 2021
3 min read
Marriott endows Howard University with $20 million to create hospitality program honoring Arne Sorenson
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Marriott International announced today that the family behind the global hotel giant would create the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund to support the design of a “world-class hospitality program and curriculum” at Howard University, a historically Black school in Washington, D.C.

The endowment is named after former CEO Arne Sorenson, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this month. The funds will be used to launch the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at Howard's School of Business.

"Arne’s passion for creating a culture of opportunity brought real change in the executive ranks of our company," J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., the executive chairman and chairman of the board at Marriott International, said in a statement. "But work remains to be done."

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As a Howard alumnus, this endowment holds special meaning to me.

I wasn't really exposed to travel until I enrolled at Howard and took service and cultural immersion trips to Haiti, Ghana and Germany. And I would have loved an opportunity to also learn about the hospitality industry as a student.

For too many people, these doors remain closed.

J.W. Marriott, Jr., said the industry "needs a pipeline of diverse leadership talent," and the Center will help make this possible. "We are proud to bring Marriott International and our family foundation together," he added, "to partner with this esteemed university in the city of our founding."

The program will give Howard students access to top hospitality executives and industry leaders. The Marriott family foundation and Howard University also plan to create a hospitality industry advisory council. Marriott says the goal will be to "expose students to the hospitality industry through a management lens."

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I know firsthand how this endowment will benefit current and future Howard students.

I received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Howard's School of Communications -- just down the hill from the School of Business. And, full disclosure, my connection to Howard runs even deeper: I spent two years (first as an adjunct, then as a full-time instructor) teaching journalism to over 400 students.

As an instructor, I often spoke to my students about the travel industry's lack of diversity and inclusion. African Americans are disproportionately underrepresented, even though they spent nearly $130 billion on travel in 2019. Hopefully, this program will help fix those disparities.

“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 President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, in response to the endowment.

And so this gift from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation will no doubt help Howard's students become leaders in the travel and hospitality space.

Feature photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto/Getty Images.

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more