Businessman and entrepreneur Ian Schrager has pledged a $1 million gift to the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund. The fund was established by Marriott International to honor the legacy of Arne M. Sorenson, the company’s late president and CEO. The donation will help support the programmatic and career development elements of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership, which will be housed within the Howard University School of Business.
At a time when the hospitality industry needs it most, the best-in-class program will aim to expand educational and professional opportunities for Howard University students and build the next generation of hospitality industry leaders.
“Arne Sorenson was the finest, most decent, most brilliant and creative man I’ve ever known. My life was so enriched by just knowing him and dealing with him. I have learned so much about both business and life from him. His passing is not only a loss for his family, friends and colleagues at Marriott but to all of us because he brought genuine good and made the world a better place for all of us. I hope that the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund in his honor, will continue the great and decent things he did in life by offering equal opportunities to future hospitality leaders. I’m very happy the work Arne did while he was alive will still continue and I am committed to helping to raise awareness and funds to support this effort,” said Mr. Schrager.
The Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership was created by a $20 million endowment by The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. Marriott International and now Ian Schrager have both pledged $1m to the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund and are inviting other companies, organizations and individuals – from all industries – to support this effort and pay homage to the work and memory of Arne Sorenson.
For more than five decades Schrager has achieved international recognition for concepts that have revolutionized the entertainment, hospitality, food and beverage, retail and residential industries. His keen instincts for the mood and feel of popular culture were honed during the 70s and 80s, when he and his late business partner, Steve Rubell, created the legendary and groundbreaking Studio 54 and Palladium nightclubs. They soon turned their attention to the hotel business, opening Morgans Hotel in 1984, introducing the concept of the "boutique hotel" to the world. With new openings of his PUBLIC brand, several luxury residential projects under development in New York City, a visual essay of Studio 54 with Rizzoli, a documentary film on Studio 54, a memoir, and 21 EDITION hotels around the world in the pipeline under his partnership with Marriott, his projects are forever engrained in the fabric of city life.
About The Arne M Sorenson Hospitality Fund
The Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership as well as the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund, which will support the programmatic and career development elements of the Center, were established just a week after the passing of Arne Sorenson in February. The experiential components of this new program, including access to top hospitality executives and industry leaders for Howard students, will make this curriculum appealing and unique. The Marriott family foundation and Howard University will work together to form a hospitality industry advisory council to design a program that will draw on the university's ideal location in the geographic heart of the hospitality industry—Greater Washington, D.C.—where Marriott and many other hospitality companies are headquartered. In addition to advising on the development of a world-class hospitality curriculum, the Center's advisory council members will serve as guest lecturers and mentors and provide hands-on learning opportunities for students. The council will include representatives from Howard, the Marriott family foundation and Marriott International as well as corporate hospitality executives, industry practitioners, association leaders and academics who together will develop a hospitality program focused on traditional and experiential learning opportunities. The goal will be to expose students to the hospitality industry through a management lens.
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