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HRSM receives $2 million gift from Marriott Foundation

The College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM) at the University of South Carolina has received a $2 million gift from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

The gift will go to the renovation of the Close-Hipp Building on the University of South Carolina’s campus that HRSM will soon call home. Specifically, the foundation’s support will go toward The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Culinary Laboratory, a 10-station, 20-student culinary teaching facility and a culinary demonstration classroom with auditorium seating in the building that formerly housed the Carolina business school. The new building will allow the college to significantly increase its School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) enrollment.

Brian J. Mihalik, dean of the College of HRSM, said he is excited about the gift and what it represents.

“This generous gift is a testament to our long-standing and deep relationship with The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation,” Mihalik said. “It will help provide our hotel, restaurant, and tourism students with vital hands-on experience as they lay the groundwork for hospitality careers across the globe. It also is a testament to the strategic vision and generosity of the Marriott family as they have been a strong supporter of higher education for decades. As dean, I take great pride in this relationship as it is a verification of the strong support the foundation has for the outstanding faculty in our School of HRTM."

Mihalik emphasized that the College of HRSM and the Marriott Foundation share a strong desire to cultivate great talent and prepare the “best and brightest” for leadership positions in the industry. He credits success to the entire HRSM faculty and staff, especially in the School of HRTM, where faculty members have educated students and then directed them to successful careers in the hospitality industry.

HRTM faculty and staff, led by Acting Director Rich Harrill, were instrumental in obtaining this gift. The faculty and internship directors have put together numerous research and networking opportunities that have led to graduating exceptional students from the program each semester. “This gift represents a partnership between a prestigious and respected foundation and a global hospitality and tourism school, benefitting generations of students to come, right down to the local community,” Harrill said. As plans progress for its new home, HRSM will continue to strengthen its partnership with The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and look forward to future endeavors, Mihalik 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.