by Jenifer ShockleyATLANTA – Food service industry leader Regynald G. Washington has given a $1 million endowment to the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.
Under the endowment, the school’s graduate program will be named the Regynald G. Washington Master of Global Hospitality Management. The endowment will offer graduate student scholarships, allow for enhanced global experiences and provide expanded teaching technologies.
“Regynald Washington is a true role model for our hospitality students,” said Georgia State President Mark P. Becker, “not only in terms of his career achievements but also his personal and professional values. To have his name associated with our hospitality program is a real point of pride for the entire university.”
“The Robinson College is grateful to receive Regynald Washington’s generous investment in our global hospitality program,” said Richard D. Phillips, dean of the Robinson College. “His gift will enhance the quality and accessibility of the program to business leaders from all backgrounds. It will have a lasting and positive impact on the next generation of hospitality professionals.”
Washington joined the School of Hospitality’s industry board 15 years ago.
“I’m very impressed by the quality of faculty, the structure of the academic programs, and the courses and content,” he said. “But most importantly, I think the students are truly awesome. They’re grounded, respectful, hungry for knowledge and eager to learn about and grow in the industry, all of which are the attributes of successful hospitality professionals.”
“Mr. Washington is an incredibly passionate mentor who wants to bring out the potential in everyone he meets,” said hospitality school director Debra F. Cannon. “This gift demonstrates his generosity and focus on cultivating future industry leaders.”
A native of Marathon, Fla., Washington began his career in hospitality at age 13 busing restaurant tables and later graduating from Florida International University with a degree in hospitality management. He joined The Walt Disney Company in 1997, rising to vice president of worldwide food and beverage operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts responsible for food and beverage services at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. In 2010 Washington joined Atlanta-based Hojeij Branded Foods as chief operating officer. He was named its chief executive officer in March 2015. In that role, Washington oversees 70 restaurants in 12 of the nation’s largest airports. The brands include P.F. Chang’s, Gordon Biersch, LongHorn Steakhouse, Celebrity Chef Cat Cora, Celebrity Chef G Garvin, Chick-fil-A and illy.
One of the premier leaders in the food service industry, Washington was chairman of the board of the National Restaurant Association from 2003-04. In 2007 he was inducted into the College of Diplomates of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the advancement and enhancement of the restaurant and food service industry.
The largest business school in the South and part of a major research institution, Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business has 200 faculty, 8,000 students and 75,000 alumni. With programs on five continents and students from 88 countries, the college is world-class and worldwide. Its part-time MBA is ranked among the best by the Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report, and its Executive MBA is on the Financial Times list of the world’s premier programs. Located in Atlanta, the Robinson College and Georgia State have produced more of Georgia’s top executives with graduate degrees than any other school in the Southeast.