DePaul University in Chicago has announced a $7.5 million challenge grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to help establish a school of hospitality leadership in the university's College of Commerce.
Beginning in the fall of 2009, the school will prepare students for management roles at hotels, restaurants, convention and tourism ventures, spas, and related leisure industries. In addition to targeting traditional undergraduates, the school will seek to enroll qualified Chicago hospitality workers who want to move into management but lack the educational credentials. According to the Chicago Tribune, the university has committed to raise an additional $9.1 million for the school.
DePaul's hospitality leadership program will address two critical issues facing the industry nationally: a growing shortage of qualified, skilled workers and a significant lack of diversity among hospitality managers. Only 7 percent of U.S. hospitality managers are African American and 6.5 percent are Hispanic.
"Chicago is the third largest convention destination in the United States and has been chosen as a candidate for the 2016 Summer Olympics," said DePaul president Rev. Dennis Holtschneider. "It deserves a world-class hospitality school to support this major industry."