White Lodging, Purdue enhance relationship, honor Bill Marriott Jr.

Hospitality development and management company White Lodging is enhancing the development of the next generation of hospitality leaders as part of the White family’s significant continued support of Purdue University.

In addition, Purdue trustees voted to rename the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in honor of the White family’s long-standing financial and in-kind support. At the request of Bruce White, White Lodging’s founder/CEO, the school’s name will also honor the career and contributions of J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., executive chairman/chairman of the board, Marriott International.

Effective immediately, Purdue’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management will officially be known as the White Lodging-J.W. Marriott Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Bruce and Beth White’s and the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation’s $5-million pledge provides the foundation for an honors program in hospitality, an endowed scholarship for top hospitality students and a named headship in the school.

This follows Bruce and Beth White’s and the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation’s pledge of $30 million in the aggregate in 2018 to Purdue for the transformation of the historic Union Club Hotel.

“Our goal is to create an environment that allows associates to be their best selves and grow through training, development and mentorship,” Bruce White said. “This goal stands as a foundation that Bill and the Marriott team built for the hospitality industry and continue to support at all levels. I’m very appreciative of Bill’s support throughout our time together and proud that we can play a role in creating the next generation of hospitalitarians at Purdue—at a time when it’s needed more than ever.”

Marriott Jr. said, “I am delighted and humbled by this incredible recognition. We have had a wonderful relationship with White Lodging and Bruce and Beth White for decades. The relationship with Purdue is also a longstanding one, and I am grateful to be part of this initiative preparing future hospitality leaders.”

The Marriott family has a longstanding relationship with Purdue. The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation provided the lead donation of $5 million in 2012 to create Marriott Hall on Purdue’s campus. The Marriott family also supports the annual Marriott Executive in the Classroom series, which brings top leaders from across all segments of the hospitality industry to the campus to engage with students about the industry’s exciting career pathways and visit with faculty to provide business insights to advance the students’ learning experience.

Purdue’s hospitality and tourism program, housed in the College of Health and Human Sciences, is widely known as one of the best in the nation, with graduates serving in hospitality positions the world over. Dean Marion Underwood said this gift and new name will help extend its reach even farther.

“The generous endowment to support a named headship will allow the College of Health and Human Sciences to attract a creative, visionary and transformative leader of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management,” Underwood said. “The gift also provides vitally important support for exceptional students to pursue an education in finance and hospitality.”

As part of the announcement of the school’s name change, Marriott International, White Lodging and Purdue are working toward an agreement to designate the Union Club Hotel at Purdue as an Autograph Collection Hotel.

In 2020, the nearly 92-year-old, 182-room Union Club Hotel reopened on campus after a comprehensive $35-million, year-long transformation. The project involved a complete overhaul of all guestrooms and public spaces, as well as the creation of three dining concepts honoring Purdue’s legacy. Original Purdue architecture and academic-inspired design are preserved in carpet patterns, upholstery, room fixtures and countless other elements in the hotel.

The hotel is also used as a hands-on learning laboratory for Purdue hospitality students where they spend time working and learning about hotel and restaurant operations while earning college credits. Additionally, the Union Club Hotel is host to the White Lodging LAUNCH Hospitality Immersion Program, designed to propel high-caliber university students into the industry by providing paid, hands-on experience.

The transition is expected to occur in early 2022.

“The continued involvement of Marriott, the Marriott family and White Lodging have helped accelerate our hospitality program to international recognition, and their latest endeavors on campus—today and in recent years—further position us as one of the top hospitality programs in the country,” said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. “Our students will have support and learning opportunities from the top hospitality company in the world and one of America’s leading hotel owners, developers and management companies—a combination no other university has.”

Purdue’s hospitality program develops future global leaders through rigorous learning, cutting-edge research and innovative engagement in the areas of hospitality and tourism; financial counseling and planning; retail management; and selling and sales management.

“While the definition of hospitality hasn’t changed, the business of hospitality has evolved greatly—even before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bruce White. “The industry is complex, and the key to thrive like we have in the past is by developing a generation of college graduates with advanced critical thinking, financial, business and service skills. There’s no question that hospitality remains an incredible career choice.”