The family of the late Cecil B. Day Sr., founder of the Days Inn chain, has donated $1 million to Florida State University’s Dedman School of Hospitality.
The school now will create a speaker series featuring recipients of the annual Cecil B. Day Ethics Award to campus. In 2007, the school began recognizing individuals in the hospitality industry for their ethical leadership with the Cecil B. Day Ethics Award, according to Thursday’s announcement.
The Cecil B. Day Student Ethics Endowment also will create a student ethics club and provide funding for travel and academic scholarships. It will also support the formation of a library to be housed in the school’s technology center. The library and center will be named after Cecil B. Day.
Cecil B. Day Sr. was the founder of the Days Inn America hotel chain, created to provide hotel accommodations for middle-class families. Day died in 1978 but his widow, Deen Day Sanders, and his family have been supporters of FSU and the Dedman program.
“This gift will have a significant impact on our hospitality students,” said Andy A. Jhanji, interim vice president for University Advancement and executive vice president of the FSU Foundation. “Experiences outside of the classroom, like listening to speakers, joining clubs and traveling to conferences, are important parts of a student’s academic success.”
Deen Day Sanders said the goal is to share with students and faculty the business beliefs of family, discipline and hard work embraced by Day.
The first Days Inn opened in June 1970 in Savannah Beach, Georgia. Within three years, more than 200 units were opened across the country. By 1978, Days Inn was the sixth-largest motel chain in the United States.
“We think it is important to instill in the students the Biblical principles upon which Cecil Day built his businesses, including ethical conduct and treating people as you would want to be treated,” Sanders said.
The gift also will continue to support to the Cecil B. Day Distinguished Professorship in Ethics, currently held by Associate Professor Nathanial Line.
Contact senior writer Byron Dobson at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @byrondobson.
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