Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Donor Brian P. Blake Leaves Legacy to the Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

The ultimate networker, a man of brilliant ideas, and a positive spirit, Brian Blake’s contributions expand the School on a global scale.

Donor Brian P. Blake Leaves Legacy to the Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Blake collaborated with charity initiatives around the world, investing in the foundation for over 15 years, and was an academic adviser of CHEI (China Hospitality Education Initiative), where he taught 400 universities and 400,000 students.

by Gabriela Romero

December 8, 2021

Brian Blake is an unmatched hero to the Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. From laying the foundation for internships resulting in a 99% placement rate upon graduation, to serving as director of global programs, Blake has helped jumpstart student careers across the globe.

His leadership as Director of the J. W. & Alice S. Marriott Student Center for Professional Development was instrumental in making the Payne School one of the most student-oriented academic units at SDSU.

Blake says, “I feel it is really important that students are allowed to attend industry-related events and experiences. This in addition to relevant academic classes makes for a better prepared professional. Such experiences need financing and I hope my contributions allow for this.”

Blake has worked endlessly to create learning experiences for HTM majors and, along with the support of the talented HTM faculty, has built an industry recognized program for graduating outstanding hospitality, recreation, and tourism professionals.

Christina Jeffries was a student of Blake’s, and he helped her find her internships and a post graduation job. She notes he developed routine internships and worked at the school level to prepare students for the workforce through teaching ethical practices.

She says that as “director of international programs, he helped 100’s to 10000’s of students from China study abroad at San Diego State University and placed them in partner hotels and resorts for seasonal help. They now have language and cultural ability to work here, and many students owe their careers to Blake both at SDSU and from many other countries.” Jeffries now holds Blake’s former position as director of the J. W. & Alice S. Marriott Student Center for Professional Development.

Carl Winston, founding director of the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management says Blake has “made it possible for students to study and intern all over the world, including the U.K., China, and Dubai.”

Gene Lamke, professor emeritus in the Payne School, has known Blake for the entirety of his SDSU career. “Blake is an idea man,” said Lamke. His creative ideas, projects, and programs have been immensely important to building student experiences in our School.”

Lamke continues, that “[the School] owes Blake a great debt of gratitude for all he has done to develop and promote an extensive array of academic experiences for student majors.”

Blake collaborated with charity initiatives around the world, investing in the foundation for over 15 years, and was an academic adviser of CHEI (China Hospitality Education Initiative), where he taught 400 universities and 400,000 students.

During Blake’s tenure, the School Payne School was honored to have his position endowed by the J. W. & Alice S. Marriott Foundation. Their generous $2.5 million donation created the J. W. & Alice S. Marriott Student Center for Professional Development.

One of Blake’s proudest accomplishments is his contribution to the Foundation as it is instrumental for the School of HTM. Join him in giving back to the Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management by making a gift.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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