Marriott International’s beloved president and CEO, Arne Sorenson, who tragically passed away last week from pancreatic cancer, is being honoured with the establishment of the Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
The announcement of the creation of the Center was made today by The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation together with Howard University. The Foundation will provide a $20 million endowment to launch the Center at Howard University, which is one of the United States’ leading historically Black colleges and universities.
I can think of no better tribute to the amazing legacy of Arne Sorenson than to focus on educating and advancing future leaders of the hospitality industry. ~ J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr.
In addition, it was announced that Marriott International is creating the Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund, which will support the critical programmatic and career development elements of the Center. The fund is dedicated to helping the industry build leadership talent in hospitality. Marriott has pledged the first donation of $1 million and is inviting other companies, organizations and individuals, from all industries, to support this effort. (Donate HERE)
The Marriott-Sorenson Center for Hospitality Leadership, which will be housed in Howard University’s School of Business, will feature a best-in-class program that expands educational and professional opportunities for Howard students and aims to develop future executives in the hospitality industry.
“I can think of no better tribute to the amazing legacy of Arne Sorenson than to focus on educating and advancing future leaders of the hospitality industry,” said J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., executive chairman and chairman of the board, Marriott International. “Arne’s passion for creating a culture of opportunity brought real change in the executive ranks of our company. But work remains to be done. Our industry needs a pipeline of diverse leadership talent and that’s exactly what this Center will achieve. We are proud to bring Marriott International and our family foundation together to partner with this esteemed university in the city of our founding. This innovative program will foster leadership excellence and help drive greater inclusion at the most senior levels of the hospitality industry. We hope that other hospitality companies will join us in designing the program and providing experiential opportunities to generate talent that will meet the needs of the industry well into the future.”
“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 Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, president, Howard University. “Through the 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.
“As I have gotten to know the Marriott family over the years, I have been impressed with their commitment to the community and excellence,” explained Frederick. “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. What we are creating is a direct connection between an industry that is on the edge of change and a top-caliber talent pool for them to recruit from.”