Carol and Jim Collins Donate $10 Million to The Collins College of Hospitality Management
Carol and Jim Collins have made a $10 million leadership gift, the largest single donation ever to The Collins College of Hospitality Management, to establish the Carol and James A. Collins Excellence Endowment.
“The growth and national reputation of The Collins College are a direct result of Carol and Jim’s longtime philanthropic support and their belief in the power of education to shape lives and better communities,” said University President Soraya M. Coley. “Their latest gift to the university is remarkable, but it is no surprise based on what remarkable people they both are. They are a personally engaging, down-to-earth couple who worked hard to achieve success, and then used the fruits of that success to improve the lives of others.”
The gift will provide scholarships and internship opportunities for academically talented, historically underrepresented undergraduate and graduate hospitality management students who would otherwise have little chance to pursue higher education. It will also support a first-class leadership and management education by investing in resources for faculty, enabling them to continue to be steeped in the cutting-edge trends in industry.
The donation also supports the vision of both Cal Poly Pomona and The Collins College to enhance innovation by expanding and creating new programs. Among them are a Ph.D. in hospitality management, expanded international outreach, and new restaurant and classroom technologies.
“We are honored to provide a perpetual pathway for educating future leaders,” Jim Collins said. "Carol and I are proud of the college's reputation and we are pleased to make such a great investment in our students and faculty.”
As the millennial generation continues to improve its economic standing and assumes greater leadership in the hospitality industry, the customer experience will evolve. On-demand smart technology, sustainable practices, contemporary design and locally-inspired ambience will become prevalent, making innovation a top priority for companies and Cal Poly Pomona. The Collins endowment will fund innovative initiatives and programs for students to thrive in a world-class, industry-standard environment, giving them a crucial edge as they prepare for careers in competitive field.
“We are truly humbled by Carol and Jim Collins’ generous support and leadership over the last three decades,” said Lea Dopson, dean of The Collins College. “Their contributions have helped us become the country’s premier hospitality management college. Their gift endows The Collins College’s future and its status as a world-class institution known for shaping current and future hospitality leaders.”
Collins Legacy Gift Announced at Hospitality Uncorked
"The growth and national reputation of The Collins College are a direct result of Carol and Jim’s longtime philanthropic support and their belief in the power of education to shape lives and better communities."
About James A. Collins
James A. Collins, a native of Southern California, served in the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946 and then enrolled at UCLA, where he met Carol. He graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering but he chose a different career path after meeting with fast-food pioneers Richard and Maurice McDonald.
Mr. Collins opened his first Hamburger Handout in 1952, adopting the concept of good, affordable fast food – and the public loved it. People drove for miles to the restaurant in Culver City to enjoy 19-cent hamburgers, and when there was a special 10-cent sale, literally thousands of customers turned out. He opened three additional Hamburger Handouts and then became a franchisee of Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1960 after meeting Col. Harland Sanders. In 1967, he purchased the Sizzler Family Steak House chain from the founder, and in 1968 formed Collins Foods International (CFI), a public company. In 1991, CFI restructured as Sizzler International and currently includes 300 Sizzler restaurants worldwide and 113 KFC restaurants in Queensland, Australia.
Mr. Collins is a member of numerous organizations and is on the Board of Directors of Lawry's. He has also been a generous contributor to Cal Poly Pomona, to his alma mater UCLA, and to the community.