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Penn State and Beta Sig alumnus Marvin Ashner ‘59, of Longport, New Jersey, made a leadership gift in October 2016 to create the Marvin Ashner Endowed Directorship in the School of Hospitality Management (SHM) in the College of Health and Human Development. This gift has strengthened one of the nation’s top hospitality education programs with a focus on advancing excellence and enhancing the school’s visibility in the digital age.

“I am proud of how far the School of Hospitality has come and its reputation for producing outstanding industry professionals,” Ashner said. “I want to support the ambitious plans for growing enrollment and further expanding opportunities for students and faculty.”

Growing up in Atlantic City, Ashner worked at one of his family’s hotels and chose to attend Penn State because of its highly ranked hospitality program. He graduated in 1958 with a degree in hotel administration. From 1979 to 1988, he held positions as an investor, consultant, hotelier and COO in Resorts International Hotel and Casino, the most successful operation in the gaming industry. A community and industry leader, Ashner was an early participant in the burgeoning Atlantic City casino industry of the 1970s, buying and selling properties for the next few decades.

Ashner has maintained close ties with Penn State throughout this career, creating scholarships for students in hospitality management and urging the school’s leaders in the late 1980s and early 1990s to develop a gaming and casino management curriculum, now a popular area of specialization for SHM students.

Donna Quadri-Felitti, who joined SHM as director in 2015, currently serves as the first Ashner Director.

“The Marvin Ashner Directorship will be a tremendous asset to the dynamic hospitality education offered at Penn State," said Quadri-Felitti. "The permanent funding that will flow from this endowment will make it possible to conduct the marketing activities, develop the curricular enhancements, and provide support for students and faculty that characterize a top program. I am thrilled, humbled, and very motivated by his confidence in us."

"Marvin cares deeply about Penn State hospitality students and making sure they have what they need to become leaders in the industry," said Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin S. Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development. "With this gift, he will reach even more of them, and further our mutual goal of advancing one of the world’s leading programs to even greater heights."

Supporters like Ashner are invaluable partners in fulfilling Penn State’s land-grant mission of education, research, and service. Private gifts from alumni, friends and corporate partners enrich the experience of students both in and out of the classroom, expand the research and teaching capacity of faculty, enhance the ability to recruit and retrain top students and faculty, and help to ensure that students from every economic background have access to a Penn State education. The University’s colleges and campuses are now enlisting the support of alumni and friends to advance a range of unit-specific initiatives.