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Villa Maria College will use a $100,000 grant from the Statler Foundation to establish a summer hospitality camp and pre-college courses for students in the Emerson Commons culinary arts program of Emerson Vocational High School, college officials have announced.

Niagara University will join Villa Maria in administering the new offering, "Hospitality Futures," which will begin this summer.

As many as 35 Emerson students will participate in job shadowing at local hospitality-oriented businesses, and take computer technology courses related to hospitality, on Villa Maria's Cheektowaga campus.

They will also participate in allied activities and seminars on Niagara's Lewiston campus.

"The summer camp will be educational and enjoyable for the students from Emerson, and will help prepare them for rewarding careers in the hospitality industry," said Villa Maria President Sister Marcella Marie Garus.

Seniors in the Emerson program will take introductory hospitality management courses at Villa Maria as well.

Villa Maria's associate in applied science degree in hospitality management includes the option of an internship in Lowicz, Poland. It was begun, with a $20,000 Statler Foundation grant, in 1995.

Niagara's Institute of Travel, Hotel and Restaurant Administration, started in 1968, offers bachelor of science degrees in either travel/tourism administration or hotel and restaurant administration.

The institute has a close working relationship with hospitality schools in Strasbourg, France, and Engelberg, Switzerland, and more than one-third of Niagara's hospitality students spend some time studying abroad.

The institute, too, has received grants from the Statler Foundation in recent years -- the latest, $1.5 million to create state-of-the-art teaching facilities, including a lobby and reception area modeled after a first-class hotel, in St. Vincent's Hall on the Niagara campus.

A "hospitality express program" launched this year by Trocaire College and the Statler Foundation is also designed to help high school students attain careers in hospitality.

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