Alumni Spotlight: Kris Cheung
Kris Cheung '04 is compelled to give back to the college even though he no longer works in the hospitality industry
When it comes to planting seeds, The Collins College of Hospitality Management ensures that every student is able to grow and harvest the fruit of their hard work. Not only does it strive to produce leaders in hospitality, but leaders in the world.
In the case of Kris Cheung, The Collins College hit the nail on the head. Cheung, a 2004 alumnus, is currently the chief operating officer of Success Academy Charter Schools, an organization that manages 46 schools and serves over 16,000 students in New York City.
Despite no longer working in the hospitality industry, Cheung donates regularly to his alma mater. “I had an amazing four-year experience at The Collins College and received many scholarships. I have always wanted to give back,” he explains.
For the alumnus, his college education meant more than a degree; it was his door of opportunity. Now, he wants to be that door for someone else.
Cheung is grateful for the support he received from his college mentors. He reminisces on how the faculty and staff at The Collins College have helped lift and shape him. “While I left the hospitality industry almost eight years ago, I would not be where I am today without the amazing educational experience and guidance from mentors like Gary Hamilton, Margie Jones, Don St. Hilaire, Marie PorterRoyce and Donna Dannan, just to name a few,” he says.
As a result, Cheung feels compelled to give back to the program that allowed him to flourish. He believes that donating to The Collins College is a way to invest in tomorrow’s leaders.
Being in the education sector, he is directly involved with building futures. “I was the recipient of someone’s generosity. The least I could do was the same. If I could just give back a little and help someone get through college, then I feel like I’m able to play a small role,” he expresses.
Hospitality was never a one-track career for him. Instead, it was a winding pathway that led him to his passion.With the essential skills he learned as a Collins student, Cheung is now able to lead a $250 million dollar non-profit organization.
“At Success Academy Charter Schools, our mission is to build exceptional, world-class public schools where children from all backgrounds can succeed in college and life,” he explains. “Our schools are K-12, so giving back to students in college helps me personally fulfill this mission. Returning that investment to our future leaders is the least I could do.”
As the seeds that a Collins College education plants in students grow larger every day, alumni like Cheung are prime examples of what allows the program and its students to excel.
This story originally appeared in the 2017 spring issue of Collins magazine.