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New Mexico State University

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The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation invests $400K into NMSU’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

As the New Mexico hospitality industry grows, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation believes the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at New Mexico State University is ready to meet the industry’s increasing employment demand. That’s why the organization agreed to invest $400,000 into the program over the next four years.


Students working in a kitchen.
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation awarded the NMSU Foundation with $400,000 to support the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The funding will enhance outreach, recruitment and professional development initiatives in hopes of increasing student interest and awareness in pursuing careers in the hospitality industry, which, in New Mexico, is expected to have 13,000 new jobs available by 2024. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

The gift made to the NMSU Foundation in support of the School of HRTM, which is in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, will create a “Hospitality Futures Center” to foster hospitality career exploration and promote the importance of hospitality education to broaden career paths in the changing industry.

“The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation will have a unique and significant impact on hospitality education, specifically in the Southwest, because they are investing in the only program in the state that offers a bachelor of science in HRTM,” said Tina Byford, interim vice president of University Advancement. “If we want to meet the employment demand in our state, it is critical that more students learn about the industry, NMSU and the School of HRTM. We’re grateful that The Marriott Family Foundation is making this priority at NMSU one of its own.”

According to New Mexico Workforce Connection’s “2018 State of the Workforce Report,” the state’s Foodservice and Accommodations industry – the third largest in New Mexico – is expected to grow at a rate of 15.3%, adding 13,000 jobs by 2024.

“We know the hospitality industry in New Mexico is growing and provides young people with limitless career opportunities,” said Mieka Wick, executive director of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. “Supporting the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management in this way gives NMSU the tools it needs to educate students about the industry, increase enrollment and develop the next generation of hospitality leaders for New Mexico and globally.”

Part of the funding will refine existing recruitment, outreach and professional development programs and design new hospitality career workshops targeted toward high school students, teachers, guidance counselors and community college students. Efforts will be led by the HRTM program coordinator and a grant-funded assistant.

Additional funding will renovate current office spaces to become the Hospitality Futures Center, which will be a designated area for students to research work and careers, hold meetings, receive career counseling and take part in interviews with industry representatives for internships and employment.

“The Hospitality Futures Center will create new opportunities for us to consolidate, refine and amplify what we already do while introducing new initiatives to continue growing our outreach efforts,” said Jean Hertzman, director of NMSU’s School of HRTM. “Our alumni and industry partner network will be an essential part of communicating the benefits of pursuing lifetime hospitality careers. Our students are immediately prepared to take on supervisory positions and transition to higher levels of management and entrepreneurial ventures across the state and beyond. With The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s help, we will be able to recruit and graduate even more of these talented students.”

To honor this support, the program and associated office space will be named the “Marriott Hospitality Futures Center,” pending approval by the University Naming Committee and other appropriate parties.