Arne Sorenson and J.W. Marriott, Jr.

An initial donation of USD$1 million has been pledged by Marriott International towards the establishment of the Marriott-Sorenson Centre for Hospitality Leadership at Howard University in Washington D.C.

The pledge will help to support the creation of a USD$20 million endowment fund at the institution spearheaded by The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation in honour of the company’s late CEO, Arne Sorenson, who passed away from pancreatic cancer earlier this month.

Howard University sits a few blocks north of the White House in Washington D.C.

The Centre will be housed within the university’s School of Business and will contribute to the development of a best-in-class program to expand educational and professional opportunities for students at Howard University. Nurturing talent within the sector and encouraging development toward executive level will also form a key part of the program.

Marriott International Executive Chairman, J.W. ‘Bill’ Marriott Jr, said he could think of no better tribute to the legacy of Arne Sorenson than to focus on the early careers of future leaders in hospitality.

“Arne’s passion for creating a culture of opportunity brought real change in the executive ranks of our company,” he said.

Marriott International is honouring their former CEO by continuing to move the company forward.

“Our industry needs a pipeline of diverse leadership talent and that’s exactly what this Centre 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.”