by Andrea Judy
Leaders gravitate to the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Many come to expand their leadership opportunities; some come to mentor, others to be involved in their alma mater, and a few to leave a legacy. Regynald G. Washington is one of those leaders who is committed to making a difference for future leaders.
Impressed by the students and eager to help create strong leaders in the hospitality industry, Washington has given a $1 million endowment to Robinson’s Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration.
“I’m very impressed by the quality of faculty, the structure of the academic programs, and the courses and content,” Washington said. “But most importantly, I think the students are truly awesome. They’re grounded, respectful, hungry for knowledge and eager to learn about and grow in the industry, all of which are the attributes of successful hospitality professionals.”
As a 30-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Regynald G. Washington has seen it all. A native of Marathon, Fla., Washington began his career in hospitality at age 13 busing restaurant tables and later graduating from Florida International University with a degree in hospitality management. For 12 years he worked with Concessions International climbing to the position of executive vice president. He joined the Walt Disney Company in 1997, rising to vice president of worldwide food and beverage operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts responsible for food and beverage services at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. In 2010 Washington joined Atlanta-based Hojeij Branded Foods as chief operating officer. He was named its chief executive officer in March 2015. In that role, Washington oversees 70 restaurants in 12 of the nation’s largest airports. The brands include P.F. Chang’s, Gordon Biersch, LongHorn Steakhouse, Celebrity Chef Cat Cora, Celebrity Chef G Garvin, and Chick-fil-A.
Under Washington’s endowment, the school’s graduate program will be named the Regynald G. Washington Master of Global Hospitality Management. The endowment will offer graduate student scholarships, allow for enhanced global experiences and provide expanded teaching technologies.
“Regynald Washington’s gift will enhance the quality and accessibility of the program to business leaders from all backgrounds. It will have a lasting and positive impact on the next generation of hospitality professionals,” said Richard D. Phillips, dean of the Robinson College. “We are grateful to receive his generous investment in our global hospitality program.”
This week, hundreds of hospitality leaders will gather to celebrate the Regynald G. Washington Master of Global Hospitality Management program.
Washington began serving as a member of the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality’s advisory board 15 years ago. He’s guided students since then and continues to help the School of Hospitality Administration remain one of the best hospitality schools in the nation.