High Above the Campus

This past April, UMass-Amherst opened a new $6.3 million facility atop its Campus Center building intended to elevate the university’s hospitality/ tourism management program. Named the Marriott Center for Hospitality Management after benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the new facility is a boon not just to the hospitality school but to campus dining services.

Dining Services Director Ken Toong has negotiated an arrangement with the hospitality school that gives dining services use of the Marriott Center’s state-of-the-art production kitchen weekends and summers for catered events. The arrangement is expected to help boost catering revenues from a current $2.5 million to $3 million, Toong says confidently. It will be open to the public for wedding receptions, private parties and conference business.

“We will have use of the 10th and 11th floors and we’ll be able to do different kinds of events,” Toong says. “We will also be able to use the facilities during the summer for staff training since it has great facilities for education.”

In addition to the modern kitchen, the Marriott Center includes a 200-seat dining room and two laboratory-classrooms. During the academic year it will be used for Dept. of Hospitality & Tourism Management classes and events designed to give the students practical experience. It is open to the public during the week, operating a full-service restaurant serving lunch and dinner.