A Tale of Two Graduations

July 7, 2014


Cornell graduation
Gonzalez & Marriott Families at Cornell University Graduation

I recently attended the graduation ceremonies at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.  Our grandson, Matthew, was receiving his masters in hotel administration.  It was a great thrill to see him walk across the stage and receive his diploma.  

Matthew is our daughter Debbie's youngest son and he's grown up in our hotel family. During summers he has worked many different hotel positions, including banquet houseman and front desk clerk.  He is really excited about his future in our family hotel business.

After graduation, I was approached by an Hispanic family.  The father said his name was Jose Gonzalez and his wife was Maria.  They said they both worked at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott.   They were there to see their son, Jose, receive his diploma.  Jose, Sr. said he had been with Marriott for 38 years and his wife Maria for 16.  I later learned that Jose, Sr. started as a bus boy and has now become a room service waiter at our LAX hotel.  Maria started as a housekeeper and then moved into food and beverage as a station attendant and later a line cook.

Jose and Maria have four children.  One son is a Sargent in the Army and did two tours in Iraq and is now in the National Guard.  

Jose Jr. graduated with honors from Lennox High School in California and was valedictorian of his graduating class.  He received a full scholarship to Cornell and did several summer internships with Marriott.  How proud we are that he was the first in his family to graduate from a university.  

Our core belief is that we provide opportunity for our people and help them with training and coaching.  Many of our families have taken advantage of this.  Jose and Maria used their progress at Marriott to raise a wonderful family and were obviously thrilled to witness their son graduate from one of the world's most prestigious universities.  

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move. 

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As a fellow Cornellian, Arts & Sciences '80 and Johnson School of Management '84, I read this story with great pride. How inspiring to see Ezra Cornell's mission, to found an institution where any person can find insruction in any study, still rings true! Go Big Red and welcome to the family!


AWESOME!!! Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story!

I am proud to see Hispanics succeed! This is an amazing story Mr. Marriott. Thank you for sharing.


Congratulation Mr. Bill!

I came from Colombia pursuing a dream : provide to Anthony - my only son -a better future. I feel so happy when I know about young men a women reach their high education because I am pretty sure one day I will see my son on the stage. My yearn!.

Today I received a sweet donut from Human Resources at Washington Marriott Marquis with the words "Thank you for your hard work" They do not know that I am so blessed to have Marriott in my life. And read today about Matthew and Jose, the donut... is to know for certainty ... something inner... that I am in a good path. To me these are all divine signs. Marriott is where I belong !

Again, from the bottom of my heart. Congratulation to all your family!

By the way, Anthony started to work last weekend at Bethesda North Marriott MD. as a server.

Taking your words : Thank you for keep me on the move

Nasly Sanandres

Congratulations fellow Cornellians! Good luck to you both in your future endeavors. Go Big Red!!

Congratulations to both families. It is wonderful to see bright faces and minds heading out into the future that come from our Marriott family.Mr. Marriott your father would be so proud of what you have accomplished in keeping our Marriott spirit alive in taking care of our employees. Mr Marriott thank you for being a great role model to our Marriott Family.

Joy Held

I loved this blog and will share it with my team here at the Baltimore Waterfront Marriott! As a 11 year Marriott associate and the daughter of immigrants, I am one of many who are proud to be Marriott!

I am very proud to work in Marriott, since 2003, I worked In Renaissance Golden View beach resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Marriot Red Sea Taba Hieghts South Saini, Egypt, and now, Working In Sharq Villae and Spa, Operated by Ritz Carlton, Doha, Qatar, as well, I had 2 Diplomas from E-Cornel (School Of Hotel adminstration & Johnson Graduate School of Management).
1- Leading Customer Focused Teams Credential.
2- Stratgic Leadership for Hospitality Professionals Credential.
It was amazing to acquire such degrees during you have a practical experience within Marriott.

My family owes you a big thank you as well. I am a second generation Marriott associate. My mother came to this country and has worked for Marriott for over 33 years and counting. My mother always spoke well of the Marriott name and insisted that we (my 6 siblings and I) gain employment there. Well, I tried it and seven years later still love what I do! Many thanks from my family to the Marriott family.

Enjoyed reading your blog and appreciate your sincere support and acknowledgement of those whom you employ and their families. May God continue to bless you and yours.

I love representing Marriott International!

Mr Bill Marriott

Thanks for sharing this wonderfull story. I am very proud to be part of this Big Family and represent Marriott every day.

Thank you Mr. Marriott! God bless the Gonzalez Family.

Absolutely delightful to hear stories of your people.
Always looking forward to reading more as a hotel personnel aspiring to succeed.

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful company.

My Best,