USF Sarasota-Manatee announces receipt of a transformational gift from Tampa businessman John McKibbon III’s JB McKibbon Foundation. As part of the USF System’s ongoing USF: Unstoppable Campaign, this donation enables USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership (CHTL) to establish the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation at USF Sarasota-Manatee, and to elevate the current McKibbon Hotel Management Endowed Professorship to The McKibbon Hotel Management Endowed Chair. It will also create M3 Scholars, master’s level students who will serve as graduate assistants to CHTL. It will underwrite student and faculty participation in national and international conferences and trainings and create opportunities for USFSM to host visiting faculty from around the globe for shared research, teaching and learning.
Cihan Cobanoglu, McKibbon Distinguished Chair of Hotel Management and dean of the College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership, said, “With this gift, our students and faculty will conduct cutting-edge research that will advance the global hospitality industry, and allow us to share with other universities and hospitality students groundbreaking educational technologies and learning tools in hotel accounting, property management systems and business intelligence software. Working with an industry partner that is a leader in both hospitality management and information technology will enable us to create synergies that will benefit hospitality education as well as the entire industry.”
Mr. McKibbon believes that the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation will become the first source for sharing new tools and knowledge that will propel the hospitality industry forward. “This gift will allow USF Sarasota-Manatee to immediately begin development of new technologies to serve the hospitality industry,” he stated. “Dean Cobanoglu has the energy and leadership skills to create real change in hospitality technology.”
Dr. Arthur Guilford, regional chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee, cited the meaningful nature of this leadership gift, the largest single gift in the history of USFSM. “Our College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership is on a path to reach the highest echelons of national status by the year 2020 and poised to be a leader of great influence in the industry. This gift of endowed funds assures long term rewards from Mr. McKibbon’s investment in USF Sarasota-Manatee. We are so honored by his friendship and support of our students and faculty—not only now, but in the future—with funds that are set aside for the growth of research and education, and the dissemination of unprecedented programs and technological innovations.”