Marriott endows Howard University with $20 million to create hospitality program honoring Arne Sorenson
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.”
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
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.”
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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees