Auburn University’s recently established School of Hospitality Management in the College of Human Sciences will officially be named the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management following the announcement of an anonymous gift to honor the lifelong icon in the hospitality industry.
Schulze, co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton Company and founder of the Capella Hotel Group, has been actively engaged with the Auburn University College of Human Sciences and School of Hospitality Management for more than 30 years and was informed of the naming in his honor during a surprise announcement on Monday, Sept. 26.
With Auburn University leaders and family members by his side, Schulze had a hard time finding the words to express what this naming opportunity means to him.
“I actually never am out of words, and this morning I lost words, literally, but it is an incredible honor to be connected to Auburn University,” said Schulze. “I approached many colleges years ago to talk about hospitality and excellence in teaching and training, and Auburn University is the only one who listened. I speak all over the world now and tell everyone that Auburn has the best School of Hospitality Management, it lives into true hospitality—and that is heart, believing and caring for people.”
A constituency of College of Human Sciences and Auburn University leaders was present for the surprise announcement, including President Christopher B. Roberts.
“To have Horst Schulze’s name associated with our School of Hospitality Management is a true honor and frankly a mark of excellence,” said Roberts. “This clearly illustrates confidence in our faculty as well as our students in having a named school, especially named after someone who has made such a significant impact in the field through their own career, and I feel it serves as a tremendous inspiration to all of us.”
Schulze’s shared vision with the College of Human Sciences in establishing a relationship between academic programming and commercial operations gives students unprecedented hands-on experience and now with the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management being housed in the new world-class Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, its offerings are unmatched for students interested in this field.
Schulze’s focus on excellence is why Susan Hubbard, dean of the College of Human Sciences, is thrilled with the new name and the permanent bond Schulze will share with the hospitality management program.
“The honor is all ours,” said Hubbard. “Having the Horst Schulze name associated with our college, knowing his reputation for integrity and professionalism with a focus on excellence, takes the School of Hospitality Management to yet another higher level. With his name on our school, the bar is raised, and our faculty and staff are eager to live into this opportunity with the true beneficiaries being first our students and ultimately the hospitality industry as a whole.”
Schulze’s personal journey with Auburn moved from advising and brainstorming to hands-on when he owned the Capella Hotel Group, then managing The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, providing immersive educational experiences for hospitality management students that continue in that facility to this day. That vision was instrumental in planning for the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, the new home to the School of Hospitality Management.
Schulze, who began working in the hospitality industry at age 14, is a world-renowned authority on hospitality and service excellence who now travels the world speaking to companies representing all fields about living and working with a higher intent and how that spirit is the foundation to a successful life.
Martin O’Neill, head of the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management, said on a personal level he could not be prouder, and at the same time more intimidated, to be the first head of the school that bears Schulze’s name.
“To say that Schulze is an icon in the global hospitality field would be an understatement,” said O’Neill. “He is the father of the quality movement in the modern hospitality industry and has all the accolades and awards to prove it. His constant belief in excellence in all that he does has lifted the lives of so many, not just in the hospitality field, but the global services sector. He has set a standard that others constantly seek to follow. Put simply, his name is synonymous with excellence and will certainly shine a bright light on Auburn’s program.”
Since its founding in 1987, Auburn’s Hospitality Management Program has seen steady and most recently, rapid growth. Established as a School in early June, moving into a new a state-of-the-art center with immersive cutting edge laboratories in August, and now being named in honor of an icon in the hospitality industry, the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management is breaking new ground with wide open doors of opportunity.
“I am absolutely delighted to have my name connected to the College of Human Sciences at Auburn University where I’ve had an emotional connection for many, many years,” said Schulze. “I hope to support the School of Hospitality Management as much as I possibly can in helping students become successful in our industry.”