Jeff Palla, ’91, ’94 and his wife Monica have created a $25,000 endowed scholarship at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. It will benefit undergraduate and graduate students studying hospitality management with plans to work in hotels or hotel management. Palla also hopes to serve as a mentor to the scholarship recipients throughout their careers.

Although Palla didn’t study hospitality management or even plan to work in the field, he has paved a successful career path since graduation. Now senior vice president – franchise operations for La Quinta, the fastest growing hotel chain in the hospitality industry, Palla studied marketing as an undergraduate and also obtained a Master of Public Administration from UCF. After working for renowned hospitality brands like Walt Disney World, Red Roof Inn, BridgeStreet Accommodations and La Quinta, he felt the time was right to give back.

“I had such great experiences at UCF and it helped shape the person I am today,” he said. “I’m so grateful for those opportunities, so I feel like it’s my responsibility now to help someone who’s interested in this field and pay it forward.”

The Jeff Palla Endowed Scholarship awarded its first recipient at the Rosen College Scholarship Ceremony on March 19.

Visit Rosen College’s website for more information about ways to support hospitality management education at UCF.