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VISIT DENVER Foundation recognizes Colorado Mesa and CMU Tech students majoring in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts through prestigious scholarship awards 

The Davis School of Business Hospitality Management Program at Colorado Mesa University and the CMU Tech Culinary Arts Program are making significant strides in developing a talented and skilled workforce for Colorado's dynamic food and beverage scene and the tourism industry as a whole.

These programs are dedicated to cultivating the next generation of culinary artists and hospitality professionals, ensuring that Colorado remains a premier destination for food enthusiasts and tourists alike. In a testament to their excellence, the VISIT DENVER Foundation has awarded scholarships to several promising CMU students pursuing careers in hospitality, tourism and commercial kitchens.

“Through the generosity of the hospitality community, the VISIT DENVER Foundation is honored to support Colorado Mesa University students who are pursuing careers in the hospitality and tourism industry. It’s a great accomplishment for these scholarship recipients and is a testament to the quality of the programs they’re enrolled in. Our hope is that these scholarships help CMU students pursue their dreams, while supporting workforce efforts in our industry,” said Nicole Marsh, CMP, DMCP, VISIT DENVER Foundation Chair.

Since its establishment in 1996, the VISIT DENVER Foundation has been dedicated to fostering the growth and development of aspiring professionals in these industries. This spring, the VISIT DENVER Foundation announced the recipients of its prestigious scholarships for the 2024/2025 academic year. A total of $14,000 was awarded across CMU’s four deserving recipients:

  • Olivia Linnebur, Senior, pursuing a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management & Culinary Arts, awarded $5,000.
  • Gloria Brown, Sophomore, pursuing an Associate's in Culinary Arts, awarded $3,000.
  • Orionna Byrd, Sophomore, pursuing a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management and Human Resources, awarded $3,000.
  • Paxton Walker, Freshman, pursuing a Bachelor's in Hospitality Management, awarded $3,000.

The CMU Tech Culinary Program is the place to be for aspiring chefs and culinary innovators. With state-of-the-art kitchen facilities and instruction from experienced culinary professionals, students receive unparalleled training in both classic and contemporary cooking techniques. The program emphasizes creativity, sustainability, and farm-to-table principles, reflecting Colorado's commitment to fresh, local ingredients and culinary excellence. Central to this practical learning is Hotel Maverick, a trendy boutique hotel that serves as CMU's teaching hotel. Students have the unique opportunity to hone their skills at Hotel Maverick, where they can experiment with innovative culinary creations and receive direct feedback from guests.

“I am proud of Olivia and Gloria. They both exemplify the values of CMU and are very deserving of the scholarships that have been awarded. Our department is appreciative of the VISIT DENVER Foundation and their recognition of CMU Hospitality and CMU Tech Culinary students. Their willingness to look statewide to identify the future leaders of our industry demonstrates the importance of foodservice, hospitality, and tourism to the entire state of Colorado,” said CMU Tech Associate Technical Professor of Culinary Arts Wayne Smith.

Meanwhile, the CMU Hospitality Management Program offers a comprehensive curriculum that blends theoretical knowledge with hands-on experience. Students are immersed in all aspects of the hospitality industry, from event management to hotel operations, equipping them with the skills necessary to excel in this vibrant field. At Hotel Maverick, students are able to gain invaluable real-world experience, managing daily operations and delivering exceptional guest services in a dynamic, professional environment.

CMU's teaching hotel plays a pivotal role in this ecosystem, providing a live learning lab where students can seamlessly transition from classroom to career. This hands-on experience ensures that they are well-prepared to enter the workforce with confidence and competence, ready to make meaningful contributions to Colorado's hospitality and culinary landscapes.

The programs at CMU and CMU Tech are more than just educational pathways; they are vital contributors to Colorado's flourishing tourism industry. Fortunately for the industry, the VISIT DENVER Foundation helps alleviate the financial burden on students so they can hone their skills and meet the growing demand for skilled professionals in restaurants, hotels and resorts across the state. The expertise of these soon-to-be professionals will further elevate the quality of service and culinary offerings, and thus attract visitors from around the world while enhancing their overall experience in the Centennial State.




Written by Kelsey Coleman