Caesars Virginia donates $504k for new hospitality, tourism program at Averett University

The program will allow on-campus and online students to learn from industry professionals

Averett University is introducing a new program thanks to a donation from Caesars Virginia.

DANVILLE, Va. – Averett University is introducing a new program thanks to a donation from Caesars Virginia.

Caesars Virginia is providing Averett with $504,000 to develop a hospitality and tourism academic program.

General Manager of Caesars Virginia, Chris Albrecht, has hopped on board with the ‘All-In, All Averett’ initiative.

“Well, I love that you’ve adopted our spirit of all-in. That’s what we use around the core of what we do in the casino world. And there’s nothing that we’re more all-in on than education,” Albrecht said.

The program will include courses like Introduction to the Hospitality and Tourism Industry, Lodging Operations, and Food and Beverage Management, with electives such as Casino, Resort and Club Management, and Facility Design.

Students will even get to try their hand in the field when they reach their capstone – an internship with a local hospitality partner.

“What this means is we’re going to be able to create a prepared, educated, trained workforce in hospitality management and tourism. It’s something that our region has yearned for, for a long time,” Averett University’s President, Tiffany Franks said.

On Wednesday afternoon, the university hosted a celebratory announcement honoring Caesars along with city leaders as well as regional hospitality and tourism industry professionals.

Averett also announced the selection of hospitality industry veteran Thomas Perugini as the program’s inaugural director.

Right now, like many other industries, hospitality is facing a tremendous staffing shortage.

Albrecht hopes this program will allow the casino and other businesses in the region to recruit highly talented employees.

“We’ve all seen the last couple of years, it’s been a lot harder to hire and find talent. So a partnership like this gives us a great place to go find great, diverse, potential team members for the future,” Albrecht said.

Classes will be available in the fall of 2023.


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Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.