GCU to offer degree in hospitality

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Tourism is one of Arizona's biggest money-makers. In 2013, nearly 34 million people visited the state and spent nearly $20 billion.

Obviously with all those tourists there's a demand for the type of work. Now, Grand Canyon University is offering an entire college degree for those who are looking to get into the hospitality industry.

The program, which will launch this fall at the Colangelo College of Business, will train graduates in hotel, restaurant and resort operations, along with golf and tennis.

General business studies will be combined with courses in hotel and restaurant management, revenue generation, food and beverage, and hospitality marketing. In addition, students will put their skills into practice at a newly refurbished Grand Canyon University Hotel.

It's a vision Grand Canyon University Hotel Manager Brett Cortright has been working on for nearly a year. The university purchased the 152-room former Quality Inn and Suites at Interstate 17 and Camelback Road last August.

"We have so many resorts here, so to have a streamline of students coming out that have been studying this is really going to help the Valley, absolutely," Cortright said.

University officials say the program is geared toward giving back, stressing the importance of hospitality in the Valley, especially with the number of conference centers, hotels, restaurants and golf courses seeking qualified candidates.

Colangelo College of Business Dean Dr. Randy Gibb says students will be able to bring business skill sets to the industry with an accredited business degree, courses in hotel and restaurant management, and experiential learning through internships.

"We're developing relationships and partnerships with these high-end, very nice properties, and then they'll also serve as hiring pathways for our students," Gibb said.

He hopes to eventually build enrollment to 1,000 students, and help boost the economy and become a Valley staple.

"It can serve almost as a gateway to the West Valley and show off the economic development of the Camelback Canyon Corridor that we're creating right here on the west side," he said.

For more information about GCU’s hospitality management program, visit www.gcu.edu.