Long-term support from Marriott International and the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation continues to help strengthen Virginia Tech’s hospitality and tourism management educational ecosystem.

From recruiting Pamplin College of Business graduates to providing students with top-notch experiential learning opportunities to supporting faculty and Virginia Tech’s burgeoning Global Business and Analytics Complex, Marriott International remains an active partner in Pamplin’s future.

In recognition of this commitment, Marriott International was honored with the 2022 Pamplin Corporate Ambassador Award at a Dec. 14 breakfast in Tysons Corner. The event was attended by senior administrators and faculty, advisory board leaders, and students in the Master of Science in Business Administration with a Concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management  program based in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. Cindy Frick, Marriott International vice president of consumer products and member of the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Advisory Board, accepted the award on behalf of Marriott International.

The Pamplin Corporate Ambassador Award is given to a company that has demonstrated prolonged support of Pamplin’s mission and its students through philanthropy, recruiting programs, academic partnerships, guest speaker programs, and more. The award program is coordinated by the Pamplin Society, a council of volunteers who strive to engage Pamplin alumni through programing and networking opportunities.

“We are grateful for Marriott International's continued engagement with Pamplin, our faculty, and the next generation of hospitality and tourism leaders,” said Phil Xiang, department head of the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management and associate professor. “In spite of pandemic-induced challenges impacting the global hotel industry over the past few years, Marriott’s support of Pamplin, our students and faculty, and our academic mission has never wavered.”

Pamplin and Marriott International’s longstanding partnership serves as a blueprint for successful collaboration between higher education and industry.

Through a $1 million gift in 2008, the Marriott Foundation endowed the Marriott Professorship to support the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in its efforts to translate hospitality research and best practices into classroom teaching and learning applications. Juan Luis Nicolau, an award-winning teacher and internationally renowned scholar within the department, was named the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Professor of Revenue Management in 2017.

In 2018, the Marriott Foundation awarded a $2.1 million grant to build the HOKIE Lab, a state-of-the-art hospitality teaching and research lab in the Global Business and Analytics Complex. HOKIE stands for Hospitality Operations Kitchen and Interactive Experience. The unique facility also will host special events and provide a setting for students to gain experience in event logistics and develop and test out restaurant concepts.

Marriott International increases access to hospitality and tourism management education for Pamplin students through scholarships and has hired thousands of students in internships and permanent roles across the globe.

Throughout the academic year, Marriott International leaders participate in guest lectures on the latest business techniques and share behind-the-scenes insights on what it’s like to serve a global hospitality organization.

Marriott International executives also actively participate on Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management advisory boards. Current membership includes Marriott Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Ty Breland, Vice President of Consumer Products Cindy Frick, and Director of Federal Government Affairs Eric Johnston.

"Marriott International is proud of its continued partnership with Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business and is honored to be recognized with the 2022 Pamplin Corporate Ambassador Award. Investment in higher education is a force multiplier in our efforts to develop and grow great leaders within our industry. By providing access to opportunities through our guest speaker series, internships and post-graduate placements, we're helping develop the next generation of hospitality leaders," Breland said.

About the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Virginia Tech’s Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management is ranked No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 24 in the world by QS World University Rankings for 2022. It has a 93 percent career placement rate for its graduates, among the highest placement rates at Virginia Tech. Known for its research excellence, industry-relevant instruction, and service to the industry worldwide, the department serves over 200 hospitality and tourism majors, 150 minors in events and experience management, more than 4,400 Pamplin undergraduates, and 50 graduate students in the MSBA-HTM program.

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