Space adjoining Marriott Foundation Building named for distinguished alumnus

Tom Joudrey
October 05, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As renovations near completion on the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Building, an alumnus with deep roots in the Penn State community has stepped forward with a gift to realize the full impact of the project.

Charles “Chick” King made a pledge commitment in August to provide $200,000 toward bolstering the resources available to complete the modernization effort. Once finished, the facility will serve as a hub for engagement for the School of Hospitality Management. As a gesture of recognition for the gift, the University will name the Chick King 1960 Terrace in his honor.

The revamped facilities are the realization of a longstanding vision in the school to create a “collaboratory” for inclusion and innovation that will facilitate experiential learning, nurture industry partnerships and fuel entrepreneurial exploration. The 11,500 square feet of renovated space will act as a launchpad to pursue these priorities, all of which will be enhanced by expanded capacity for hosting lectures and for industry-targeted events by scholars and hospitality professionals. Cutting-edge interactive technology will deliver pedagogical tools to enable hands-on learning.

The west terrace, which overlooks Hort Woods and North Atherton Street, will provide a flexible multi-purpose space for students to participate in engaged learning and scholarship. The venue is equipped to host an array of events, including community classes, industry meetings and alumni gatherings, facilitated through the Hospitality Management curriculum.

King had the opportunity to tour the complex when construction began, which cemented his interest in the project generally and the west terrace in particular.

“Its social design intrigued me,” he recalled. “The main room will be restored to its original form and expanded to enable outdoor seating and to accommodate parties that spill onto the terrace. It’s a space that will organically draw people together, and that’s something I’ve worked to accomplish, both personally and professionally, my whole life.”

King’s family has been intertwined with the Penn State tradition from well before Chick’s birth. His father, Charles, earned his electrical engineering degree for the University at the height of the Great Depression in 1933. While there, he distinguished himself as middle-distance runner. Chick opted to follow in his father’s footsteps, both by earning an undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering in 1960 and, more literally, by breaking cross-country and track records as a Penn State athlete.

King attributes his abiding dedication to Penn State in part to the excellent mentorship and training that equipped him for his career as an architect. After graduation, he launched his own architectural firm in Philadelphia. The women’s apparel store Talbots accepted his bid on his first major project, and by the close of his career, he had completed more than 600 installations for the company. King was also the principal architect for the Pennsylvania-based outlet Wolf Furniture, including for its former location in State College.

The architectural connection was one further motive for lending his philanthropic support to the Marriott Foundation Building. The structure was originally designed by world-renowned architect Robert C. Venturi Jr., who inaugurated a new era of innovation by rejecting the functionalist corporate designs that prevailed in the 1950s. “I attended an early Venturi lecture before he made it big, and all these years later I still admire how he tossed aside the prevailing wisdom and pioneered a new path forward,” King said. “The idea of helping to carrying forward Venturi’s groundbreaking legacy appealed to me.”

“Chick’s generosity will help to unlock the potential of the next generation of hospitality leaders,” said Donna Quadri-Felitti, associate professor and Marvin Ashner Director of the School of Hospitality Management. “His gift will have a transformational impact on our school’s experiential education capacities, opening up new opportunities for inclusion, innovation and excellence. Given all of these advances, I am pleased we can recognize Chick’s outstanding support by naming the west terrace in his honor and as a token of our appreciation. It’s a wonderful complement to the building’s front terrace —  itself recently named in gratitude to the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society — and brings the whole project one crucial step closer to realization.”

King’s contribution to the Marriott Foundation Building deepens his philanthropic legacy at Penn State. In 2012, he created the Nancy Spencer King Trustee Scholarship, an endowed fund named in honor of his late wife that will offer need-based financial support in perpetuity for undergraduates in hospitality management. His other gifts include contributions to the George Trudeau Endowment for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Center for the Performing Arts in the College of Arts and Architecture and multiple commitments to Intercollegiate Athletics. Across the years, he has also been a regular contributor to THON, WPSU and the Palmer Museum.

King’s gift will advance “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more, visit the “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” website.


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Last Updated November 23, 2020