In today’s economy, college tuition rates are often a large and heavy burden for students to undertake, with no current end in sight for tuition increases. In the hopes of easing some of this burden, JHM Hotels supports hospitality management students through its Rama Scholarship for the American Dream.
Education has always been important to the Greenville, S.C.-based lodging company, as its founder and CEO, H.P. Rama, traveled from India to the United States in order to pursue an education. Rama understands firsthand the financial burden of college, as he too had to work his way through school.
On the 25th anniversary of JHM Hotels, Rama and his brothers established the Rama Scholarship for the American Dream with a $1,000,0001 endowment. Since its creation in 1998, the scholarship has aided 406 students in their pursuit of education.
Chris Warner, a Rama scholarship recipient and vice president of human resources at JMH, says the scholarship had a profound effect on him. “I was a non-traditional student. I had gone to college right out of high school and then left to join the military. When I came back, I saw the opportunities of the hospitality industry,” he says. “I had a wife and kids when I went back to school, and the scholarship really helped me be able to maintain a balance between the two.”
Director of Community Relations Heather Meadors, who serves on the scholarship committee, notes that JHM strives for scholarship recipients to maintain job satisfaction in the hospitality field. “Hospitality is one of those areas that if you work hard, you can move up,” Meadors says. “You are always able to look up to a higher position.”
This is true in Warner’s case. He started out as director of training and recruiting at JHM and went back to school to pursue a higher degree. The scholarship helped Warner maintain his normal lifestyle and take care of his family instead of worrying about every dollar spent. He completed his studies at a prime moment, which led to his promotion to vice president of human resources.
Warner and Meadors have heard many inspiring stories from recipients who are grateful for the opportunities the scholarship has provided, but Meadors says even reading what applicants have to say about the program is very rewarding. “It is very interesting to read and get a person’s taste on what the scholarship would mean,” she says. “A lot of our applicants are minority students, so they often write about the struggles their family has experienced and what earning the scholarship would mean to their parents.”