Industry Leaders Demonstrate Commitment to CMHT Students Through Scholarships

Finding a way to pay for college is a major concern for many students, which is why financial aid and scholarships play such a critical role in student success. Students can pursue their academic goals with more focus when they don’t have to worry about picking up extra hours at a job or graduating with an overwhelming amount of debt.

That’s why UNT awards more than $350 million in financial aid every year, including more than $45 million in scholarships, to approximately 75 percent of students. For students in UNT’s College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism (CMHT), a significant source of financial support is provided by potential future employers – and some of the biggest names in the retail and hospitality industries.

CMHT awards more than $100,000 annually to students from scholarship endowments thanks to industry support from companies like Marriott, Fossil and Pier 1, just to name a few. Scholarship funds are separated by industry category and awarded to applicants studying the corresponding major.

Learn more about CMHT scholarships.

According to CMHT Associate Dean, Dr. Dee Knight, these scholarship funds not only make a college education possible for many students, but also serve to enrich the experience.

“Scholarships help ensure students have the time to participate in enrichment or professional development activities,” says Knight. “Most of our students work to support educational expenses. A scholarship can mean that students have the option of working fewer hours so they can participate in industry lectures, career workshops or industry study tours they wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend.”

That was the case for merchandising and digital retailing junior Bennett Brown, who was the recipient of scholarships from J.C. Penney and Nordstrom. Brown says the scholarships allowed her to work less and focus more on her studies, which led to her being able to attend the National Retail Federation’s 2017 Shop.org Conference in Los Angeles. She was also able to do some valuable networking thanks to the scholarships.

“When I attended the scholarship awards ceremony last April, I had the chance to connect with someone from the Nordstrom corporate office,” says Brown. “She recommended I apply for their corporate summer internship and it gives me a lot of confidence knowing I’ve already made some inroads there.”

A similar opportunity was afforded to hospitality management and digital retailing senior Billy O’Dell, who has been awarded CMHT scholarships for three straight years.

“This year I received the Marriott Hotel and Restaurant Management Scholarship, which helped me build connections with several people who work there, including a senior vice president,” says O’Dell. “It’s been great to establish those contacts, and hopefully it can help me land a job with the company after I graduate.”

Considering all the financial and professional benefits these scholarships provide, both Brown and O’Dell say the application process is well-worth the potential return on investment. Applicants must submit an essay, two letters of recommendation and one general application to be considered for all of CMHT’s scholarships available to students of their specific majors by the Feb. 1 application deadline.

It’s a small price to pay for a scholarship that could open up a world of opportunity for CMHT students.

“I love this industry and hope to see this program continue to flourish at UNT,” says O’Dell. “It has truly been a great experience so far, and I can’t wait to continue pursuing this career. I’m so grateful I have a college that supports me.”

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Site last updated on February 5, 2018

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