Caesars gives $504K to Averett University
Gift will establish hospitality management and tourism program
Caesars Virginia, which is building a $650 million casino in Danville, announced a gift of $504,000 to Averett University on Wednesday.
The gift will be used to develop a hospitality and tourism academic program. Averett’s new concentration and minor in hospitality management and tourism will be part of the university’s business management program and is expected to launch in fall 2023. The program will offer courses that include an introduction to the hospitality and tourism industry, lodging operations, and food and beverage management. Elective courses include casino, resort and club management and facility design. Students will end the program with a capstone internship with local hospitality partners.
Thomas Perugini, a hospitality industry veteran with 25 years of experience, will be the program’s inaugural director. He said the program will help feed the regional workforce pipeline by providing interns and training future Averett alumni in the industry.
“At Caesars Entertainment, we are committed to investing in the communities where we work and live through education and philanthropic giving,” Barron Fuller, regional president for Caesars Entertainment, said in a statement. “By partnering with Averett, we aim to provide resources for the next generation of hospitality professionals in the area. We look forward to building this program alongside the university for years to come.”
Caesars is developing a $650 million casino in Danville’s Schoolfield district, which broke ground in August and is set to open in late 2024. The project is now a joint venture with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Plans for the casino include a 500-room hotel, 1,300 slots, 85 live game tables, 24 electronic table games, a World Series of Poker-branded live poker room and a Caesars sports book. It is also slated to have a full-service spa, pool, bars, an entertainment venue that can accommodate up to 2,500 people, and 40,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.
In its third-quarter earnings call with investors, Caesars referenced plans to open a temporary casino in Danville that would be open in mid-2023. It will be on the same site as the permanent casino.
Caesars and Averett have been talking about partnering since discussions around the casino began, according to the release from the partners.
“At Averett University, we strive to be a strong partner in our city, region and beyond, and we know there is a significant and growing need for a prepared workforce with advanced education in this industry,” Averett President Tiffany M. Franks said in a statement.