Collins College unveils new building

By Melina Orantes

After years of planning, over $10 million in private donations and with the support of many individuals, Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management unveiled its fourth building on Thursday.

Guests were invited to celebrate alongside the college and watched as CPP President Soraya Coley; Lea Dopson, the Collins College dean; and Jim Collins, a primary benefactor of the Collins College, cut the ribbon at the grand opening.

Coley, Dopson, Collins and other prominent guests were there to commend the dedication and hard work that made the expansion possible. Many city and government officials such as Elliott Rothman, mayor of Pomona, awarded the Collins College with proclamations honoring the school’s commitment to its students.

“The City of Pomona looks at Cal Poly [Pomona] as our shining star of the city and the entire valley judging by all my colleagues from other cities that are here today,” said Rothman.

The Collins College stands out among the CPP community, being the first and largest four-year hospitality management degree program in California. Those who attended Thursday’s ceremony were witnesses to how significant the existence of the college has been, and is, for students’ careers in the hospitality industry.

“The college is consistently ranked among the best hospitality management programs on the West Coast and in the nation,” said Coley. “The college also boasts a top ten graduate program in hospitality and tourism.”

The Collins College is now on its way to boast the first building on campus to be Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Gold certified, a certification that recognizes best in-class building strategies and practices. LEED Gold certified buildings promote renewable and clean energy.

“We’ve been really putting in a lot of effort to make this building meet the different standards and sustainability when it comes to the landscaping, to the lighting, to even in our different rooms, where if you open up a window, the air conditioning shuts off in that room only, so we don’t waste electricity,” said Diana Garcia, communications & external relations specialist at Collins College.

Other amenities included in the new building are a grab-and-go cafe, study rooms, a “flex” room designed to fit 80 students, which can be divided by a wall that turns into two smaller classrooms as well as new offices for faculty. The building is also equipped with the latest technology and resources to accommodate the college’s growing student population.

The new building puts an emphasis on the Collins College’s graduate program, which was established in 2010. Garcia pointed out that the graduate program is rapidly growing and the college was in need for space to accommodate its students and their needs.

“When it comes to thesis work and stuff like that, [students] really need a space that they can thrive [in], and we’re really hoping that will elevate the program as well,” said Garcia.

The lower courtyard contains two classrooms specifically reserved for graduate students. One room was designed to emanate an executive feel by featuring warm colors and wood furniture.

“It’s amazing, and I can’t wait to actually use it. Since part of the new building was built for graduate students, I feel especially honored to have the privilege to use it,” said Tiziana Oggionni, a first-year graduate hospitality management student.

Donors such as Carol and Jim Collins, Peggy and Andrew Cherng, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Eugene Park and Mary Alice and Richard N. Frank played pivotal roles in making the building a reality.

“The thing I can never get over is that every building here is built with private money, and so we are kind of a private college on a state-owned land,” said Ben Dewald, a professor at the Collins College. “All the people that have donated are graduates or people that believed in us.”

Guests of the ceremony received a tour of the new building from students of the Collins College who were eager to guide them.

“It feels very modern and feels like the hospitality industry is a growing industry always, and now we have a symbol of a new building,” said Julian Herrera, second-year hospitality management student.

The ceremony was a way to congratulate all who had part in the project and to show sincere gratitude from student and faculty alike.

Collins College

Reynaldo Duenas / The Poly Post

Collins College

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