During the first years of its existence, the hospitality department belonged to the College of Business Administration and consisted of 30 students and two faculty members.
45 years later, over 1,000 students and 50 faculty members enjoy the four-building college that sits atop the campus.
As the hospitality industry expanded, there became a greater need for educational hospitality and management programs.
A program like this would help produce qualified professionals in the nation.
For this reason, Cal Poly Pomona developed a hospitality management center, department, school, and now, College of Hospitality Management.
The hospitality department began in 1973 as a part of the College of Business Administration.
The increasing urgency for hospitality professionals made the department necessary.
Jim and Carol Collins began investing in the college in the early 1980s.
With the support of these philanthropists and the faculty at Cal Poly, in 1986, the hospitality department removed itself and become the Center for Hospitality Management.
In 1990, the Collins family invested in a building campaign to create the Center for Hospitality Management.
The donation funded the first hospitality management building, known as building 79. The building is made up of classrooms, offices, and kitchen laboratories for the students and faculty.
This initiated future growth for the school.
The Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch established that same year.
The restaurant gives the students the opportunity to “learn by doing” by allowing them to operate and manage with the guidance of industry professionals.
They are able to work at the restaurant and gain guest service, serving, food prepping, and management skills.
By working at a restaurant, the students actively practice the materials they learn inside the classroom.
Students receive the opportunity to experience and prepare for their future careers.
The Center for Hospitality Management obtained the name School of Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1991.
In 1999, the Collins’ generous pledge of $10 million encouraged the college’s name change to Collins College.
This donation and several others allowed two more buildings to be built, buildings 79A and 79B.
The school officially became a college in 2008.
The Collins College of Hospitality Management continues to be the only hospitality management college in the area.
With great success in the undergraduate program, the Collins College established a graduate program in 2010.
This one of a kind program offers a Masters of Science in Hospitality Management and gives continuing students the chance to dig deeper into management concepts of the highly competitive industry.
The Collins presented $5.25 million in 2010 toward a new building, building 80.
This building is the Collins College of Hospitality Management Marriott Learning Center.
This learning center allows the college to grow and advance by giving the students and faculty the necessary materials to do so.
“The donations have allowed the faculty to remain here in one area,” Ernest Briones, lecturer and laboratory instruction team for The Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch, said.
“The closeness to the faculty, the technological advancements in the buildings, having smart classrooms, has impacted the program overall.”
Most recently, Collins College received a $10 million Collins of Excellence endowment.
The endowment will give the students the opportunity to expand and develop in ways that will lead them to success in the hospitality industry.
“The students are more industry ready…the Collins have allowed us to grow and evolve along with Cal Poly Pomona in a way that we might not have been able to without their support,” Associate Professor in The Collins College of Hospitality Management Margie Jones said.
Jim and Carol Collins carry a significant role in the structure and development of the college.
But, with constant financial and physical support, they construct a positive atmosphere for the college.
They care about the success of the students and faculty and show that with constant participation in the Collins College community.
“The buildings are really important, and the buildings are only important because the Collins are worried about taking care of the people that use those buildings, and that has been the major impact of their donations through my career,” Jones said.
Not only are they continuous philanthropists to Cal Poly, but they have also taken part in UCLA, Westside Family YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of Venice, Beta Theta Pi, Alliance Collins Family High School.
Each one of these organizations means something to the Collins. Jim and Carol are longtime supporters of UCLA and its athletics, which led to their $10 million donation in 2015 and constant involvement.
The Collins family are members at the YMCA and work hard to make the government program grow.
Jim began working with the Boys & Girls Club of Venice by providing them with lunches, and in 1999, helped create the new Boys & Girls Club of Venice James A. Collins Youth Center.
The Alliance Collins Family College Ready High School created a program to successfully prepare students for college & careers by providing learning opportunities to all students.
The Collins family loves helping others and leading them on a path to success.
“I’ve known them the whole time, they’re really generous, kind, personable, role models, philanthropists, [and are] intentional in their gift giving. Their goal is to continue to help professionalize leadership and grow the hospitality industry so we are able to compete in the ever-growing competitive world,” Jones said.
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