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Marriot Foundation leads support for Culinary Business Learning Lab

By Lois Furry

When added to its previous grant, a new $700,000 gift from the Marriott Foundation rounds off the foundation's commitment to the revitalization of the Culinary Business Learning Lab at $2 million – or half of the $4 million project, which has been a priority for The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University. In recognition of this generosity, director and professor in The School, Dr. Ron Cichy, has recommended to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon that the renovated space for MSU's Culinary Business Learning Lab be named after The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

Cichy expressed the appreciation of faculty and students for the gift. "The Marriott family is an icon in our industry," Cichy said. "They stand for integrity, high standards, innovation and generosity. We are grateful for this treasured relationship and supportive partnership."

The Culinary Business Learning Lab, located in MSU's Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, is a critical component in the education of MSU's hospitality business students – tomorrow's leaders in the global hospitality industry – and in the professional development of current industry executives. The Marriott Foundation support along with funding and in-kind contributions from other sources means that the revitalization work can proceed in full force this year and be completed by the start of classes in Fall 2011.

"We are being very judicious, very diligent," said Professor of Practice Mike Rice, project manager for the Culinary Business Learning Lab. "We also need to demonstrate to our students the proper way to get the job done."

The "job" of revitalizing a space that is appropriate for state-of-the-art teaching, research, executive education, industry demonstrations and special events can now move forward in large part because of the enthusiasm and commitment of the Marriott Foundation trustees and its executive director Richard Farrar ('73, Business), former senior vice president of owner and franchise services for Marriot International, Inc.

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 at 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.

For more information about the Culinary Business Learning Lab or to make a gift, go to www.bus.msu.edu or contact the school's Of f ice of Development at (517) 432-7440.