The Tod and Maxine McClaskey Foundation has invested $2 million to establish an endowed chair in hospitality business management in the Carson College of Business at WSU Vancouver.

This is the first endowed chair at the Vancouver campus. The gift honors the late Tod McClaskey, founder of Red Lion Inn Hotels, and his wife, Maxine.

The McClaskey Foundation previously funded a faculty position for the first five years of WSU Vancouver’s hospitality business management program, part of the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management in Pullman, which ranks among the top 5 percent of such programs in the country.

“This endowment is both a reward for past successes and an investment into the future of hospitality business management in the Vancouver/Portland area. Hospitality business management Vancouver is not only here to stay, but to be the leader in hospitality in this area,” said Florian Zach, Tod and Maxine McClaskey Faculty Fellow.

The program offers the only bachelor’s degree in hospitality business management in the region, which is one of the nation’s fastest-growing tourism destinations. Students from Clark College, the Cascadia Technical Academy and other schools and colleges in the area now can continue their education in this specific field.

Tod and Maxine McClaskey established their foundation to support the communities they loved past their lifetimes. The foundation supports health and education programs in Clark County.

Meanwhile, an endowment also is being established for the Business Growth Mentor & Analysis Program at WSU Vancouver.

An anonymous $12,500 gift is being matched by charter donors to create the endowment, which will ensure the program’s growth and continued prosperity while making a difference in the lives of students and the economic development of the local business community.

Since its inception in 2011, the program has grown tremendously, and so has its influence. More than 1,000 students have participated in at least one project, helping almost 200 businesses in the Vancouver and Portland area. Students analyze real business problems and recommend practical solutions. The experience boosts their career prospects while helping companies increase revenue and create jobs.

Business Growth MAP’s success has brought prestige and numerous awards. Most recently, the program was one of 35 selected from 315 submissions for an award from AACSB International, a global business education network.