USFSM Receives Lead Gift for College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership Growth and Innovation


USF Sarasota-Manatee announces receipt of a transformational gift from Tampa businessman John McKibbon III’s JB McKibbon Foundation. As part of the USF System’s ongoing USF: Unstoppable Campaign, this donation enables USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership (CHTL) to establish the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation at USF Sarasota-Manatee, and to elevate the current McKibbon Hotel Management Endowed Professorship to The McKibbon Hotel Management Endowed Chair. It will also create M3 Scholars, master’s level students who will serve as graduate assistants to CHTL. It will underwrite student and faculty participation in national and international conferences and trainings and create opportunities for USFSM to host visiting faculty from around the globe for shared research, teaching and learning.

Cihan Cobanoglu, McKibbon Distinguished Chair of Hotel Management and dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, said, “With this gift, our students and faculty will conduct cutting-edge research that will advance the global hospitality industry, and allow us to share with other universities and hospitality students groundbreaking educational technologies and learning tools in hotel accounting, property management systems and business intelligence software. Working with an industry partner that is a leader in both hospitality management and information technology will enable us to create synergies that will benefit hospitality education as well as the entire industry.”

Mr. McKibbon believes that the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation will become the first source for sharing new tools and knowledge that will propel the hospitality industry forward. “This gift will allow USF Sarasota-Manatee to immediately begin development of new technologies to serve the hospitality industry,” he stated. “Dean Cobanoglu has the energy and leadership skills to create real change in hospitality technology.”

Dr. Arthur Guilford, regional chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee, cited the meaningful nature of this leadership gift, the largest single gift in the history of USFSM. “Our College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership is on a path to reach the highest echelons of national status by the year 2020 and poised to be a leader of great influence in the industry. This gift of endowed funds assures long term rewards from Mr. McKibbon’s investment in USF Sarasota-Manatee. We are so honored by his friendship and support of our students and faculty—not only now, but in the future—with funds that are set aside for the growth of research and education, and the dissemination of unprecedented programs and technological innovations.”


About Mr. McKibbon

Gainesville, Georgia, native John McKibbon III, is chief executive officer of McKibbon Hotel Group, Inc.; chairman of McKibbon Hotel Management, Inc.; and president of parent company McKibbon Brothers, Inc.  McKibbon Hotel Management and McKibbon Hotel Group are privately held, family run companies, managing the operations and real estate of a growing portfolio of owned and managed properties. Mr. McKibbon is also CEO of M3 Accounting + Analytics (originally known as M3 Hotel Accounting). The company produces an integrated suite of hospitality accounting products.

About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)

USF Sarasota-Manatee is a comprehensive, four-year university for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit. USFSM offers the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in North Port and Manatee County.

About the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership

The mission of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee is to provide quality education for students in hospitality and technology leadership positions by creating an intellectual, collaborative, ethical, inclusive environment for our students, faculty, industry and community to produce educational opportunities and innovate research that will benefit the constituents in Florida, the U.S. and the world.

About the USF: Unstoppable Campaign

The USF: Unstoppable Campaign is a comprehensive fundraising effort by the University of South Florida System to celebrate the energy, vision, and future of one of the country’s most exciting and engaged universities. Our people and programs, our ideas, our research, and our solutions comprise an ambitious plan to enhance healthcare, science, technology, education, business, the arts and global partnerships.