Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a luxury hospitality chain, donated $50,000 to create a scholarship fund in support of students at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management.
The university will match the donation, amounting to $100,000, as a part of the public phase of its 10-year ASCEND capital campaign.
The ASCEND campaign, the university’s multi-year campaign focusing on fundraising and financial aid for students, faculty supports and facility updates will coincide with the 150th anniversary of DU’s founding in 2014.
According to David Corsun, associate professor and director of the Knoebel School, the gift, which became official May 4, will be awarded over five years, coming in annually in $10,000 increments that will be matched by the university.
Though the funds will be inactive for the first three years because it is the Department of Financial Aid’s policy that such scholarships maintain a balance of $50,000 before students are granted access to the funds.
Corsun said DU will informally recognize students with the Four Seasons’ investment in mind.
“We will continue to connect students with an interest in the Four Seasons brand,” Corsun said. “It may be that some of those students will receive scholarship funds or Knoebel general scholarships.”
DU worked with the donor to develop need and merit-based criteria components of the scholarship.
The donation will be awarded to hospitality majors with a 3.0 minimum grade point average.
“Not everyone wants to work for Four Seasons, but it’s useful to have students who receive this scholarship interested in the company and potentially interning or working with them,” Corsun said.
Corsun said the Fritz Knoebel school and Four Seasons had a relationship before he arrived at DU five years ago, participating in on-campus career fairs and actively recruiting DU students.
“Between my connections and contacts, the relationship has become more formal thanks to a strong recruiting history,” Corsun said. “DU has been fertile ground from a recruiting perspective.”
Four Seasons, which Fortune magazine has named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” since 1998, has hired nearly 10 percent of its new management trainees from DU’s hospitality school in the past four years, despite over 200 similar four-year degree programs across the U.S.
Four Seasons hired seven individuals from the 2012 senior class of approximately 250 students, with the possibility of one or two more, according to Corsun.
Students are hired into either three-month or year-long training programs, both across the country and internationally, based on the prior industry experience each individual brings to the table.
Corsun added there are more donations on the horizon.
“I can’t say who yet, but this is the first of many recent agreements,” said Corsun. “We are actively raising scholarship and acquiring several gifts. With financial aid, we want what is most beneficial to the most amount of students.”