A $1 million donation from alumnus Michel Eric Fournelle has kicked off a fundraising campaign to improve learning and upgrade facilities for the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management.

Fournelle graduated from the hotel and food administration program, or HAFA, in 1992 and is now a successful real estate developer and philanthropist. He felt compelled to make the seven digit donation after a gift from the now late John F. Wood last year.

The millionaire’s specific donation will transform the program’s food lab into the into the state-of-the-art Anita Stewart Alumni Food Laboratory, according to a press release from the university.

“My experience as a student at the University of Guelph was wonderful and has had a big impact on my life, I wanted to give something back,” said Fournelle.

“U of G is Canada’s food university, so it seemed natural to support renovating the food laboratory and naming it in honour of Anita Stewart, who has done so much to advance Canada’s cuisine and food culture on the world stage.”

Photo supplied.

As president of the Fondation Famille, Fournelle has also led in supporting important initiatives to help less-privileged children in Quebec, including building a new care facility in Montreal.

Fournelle’s gift kicks off a fundraising campaign – Legacy 50 – to raise funds to boost transformational learning opportunities and facility upgrades for HFTM.

“Although some of the original HAFA courses are long gone, what hasn’t changed is the school’s success in developing future leaders for the hospitality industry,” said university president Franco Vaccarino.

“The School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management has grown immensely over the last 50 years, with 400 current undergraduate students, a strong co-op program, graduate degrees and over 5,000 alumni.”

The gift was announced as part of the hospitality school’s 50th anniversary celebration during this past Alumni Weekend.

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