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Marriott Foundation Invests $2.4 Million in SDSU HTM School

Gift is foundation's largest ever to a hospitality school in the western U.S.
By Gina Jacobs

San Diego State University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) has received a $2.4 million donation from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, their largest-ever gift to a hospitality school or program in the western United States.

The gift will endow the school’s Student Center for Professional Development, which will be renamed The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Student Center for Professional Development.  Bill Marriott, chairman and C.E.O. of Marriott International, will present SDSU with the $2.4 million check at a naming ceremony on January 28 at 3 p.m. in the College of Professional Studies & Fine Arts Dean’s Office.

This new endowment is the seventh gift of $1 million or more received by HTM since its inception seven years ago.

“Marriott is synonymous with high ethical standards and premier leadership,” said Carl Winston, director of the School of HTM. “It’s also recognized for commitment to workplace diversity, mentorship of individuals and creating opportunities for those interested in joining the hospitality industry.  These are values we share and the values we strive to develop in our students.”

The Student Center for Professional Development helps HTM students to find internships required to earn their degree and assists students in finding part-time, summer positions and full-time employment after graduation. More than 100 HTM students have completed internships with Marriott, and there’s a strong correlation between internship and job placement, said Brian Blake, director of the Student Center for Professional Development. The HTM program boasts a 99 percent placement rate.

SDSU graduates who now work for Marriott have impressed Steve Bauman, vice president, North America talent acquisition for Marriott International. “They’re bright, energetic and knowledgeable,” Bauman said. “They come to Marriott with a great understanding of and passion for the industry, which is clearly the result of solid preparation."

With the center’s funding now guaranteed in perpetuity, future HTM students can turn to its resources for networking assistance. Students are not the only group to benefit from the center’s activities. The school’s community partners, and the industry in general, profit from this pipeline of potential employees, Blake said.

About The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation was established in 1965 with the purpose of giving back to the community. Under the current direction of J.W. Marriott, Jr. and Richard E. Marriott, the Marriott Foundation is dedicated to helping youth secure a promising future, especially through education on the secondary and higher education levels, mentoring and youth leadership programs.  Equally important are organizations that help provide relief from hunger and disasters; support people with disabilities; and create gainful employment opportunities for vulnerable youth and adults. 

About San Diego State University San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since it was founded in 1897, the university has grown to offer bachelor's degrees in 81 areas, master's degrees in 74 areas and doctorates in 16 areas. SDSU's approximately 34,000 students participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with faculty and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future. For more information, visit