Rennick Andreoli, a 1971 graduate from the Scripps College of Communication
Photographer: Jim McGuire
Feb 17, 2014
By Selina Nadeau
The restaurant, hotel and tourism industry is one of today’s fastest growing industries. To keep pace with the demand for industry professionals, Ohio University alumnus Rennick Andreoli and his wife, Dee, established the Rennick A. and Dee Andreoli Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism Scholarship and have also provided support funding for the Patton College of Education’s Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism Program.
With the help of the Andreoli’s gift, graduates from OHIO’s Restaurant, Hotel and Tourism Program—known as the Hospitality Program—will be better prepared for this growing field.
“It’s a growing industry. There are so many opportunities—not only in Ohio, but all over the country,” said Rennick Andreoli, who received his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1971. “And, it’s a field that is also one of the best for job security in the coming years. They’re not shipping hotel jobs overseas.”
Andreoli’s success story reaffirms the belief that following your passions always takes you down the right path. After earning his bachelor’s degree in journalism at OHIO, he studied Hotel Management at Cornell University in New York and spent the next few decades building an incredible career in the hotel industry.
“I was always drawn to the hotel industry and I was passionate about it. I got an opportunity and it grew into something great,” he said. “Journalism just didn’t appeal to me as much.”
Andreoli purchased his first franchise with his brother in 1969. Together, they acquired underperforming hotels across the country in states like California, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. They renovated these properties so they could reposition and reflag them. Over the next 30 years, Andreoli built and purchased countless other businesses including restaurants and hotels in Colorado, Louisiana and Texas.
In 2009, his first property, the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, celebrated 40 years of business under the same owner, making Andreoli the owner of the longest-running Hilton franchise in the world.
Andreoli offers some final advice to students looking for a career in the hospitality industry.
“We took a lot of risk when we were growing our portfolio. You just have to take a lot of risks, but you also go with your gut instinct," he said. “You have to be able to adapt to change, because it’s a complex business. It’s not as easy and straight forward as some people think.”
Proceeds from the 40th anniversary Hilton Akron/Fairlawn celebration went to the Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation, a foundation established in 2006 to provide financial assistance for families dealing with cancer. Andreoli serves on its board.
“We provide financial assistance to those who are dealing with cancer and have added financial pressures on them. To date, we’ve helped more than 1,800 families,” Andreoli said.
In addition to his service on the Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation, Andreoli has also served on the board of the Akron Art Museum, the Akon Community Foundation and the Hilton Advisory Ownership Council.
Andreoli is also passionate about supporting Ohio’s youth. Before his gift to OHIO, he endowed several student scholarships at the University of Akron and was instrumental in rebuilding the Akron Rotary Camp, a camp for children with disabilities.
Helping people, Andreoli said, is a vital part of being successful in his industry.
“Hospitality is people serving people, so you have to have a passion and a desire to make people happy,” he said. “Everything else we can train. You have to be able to relate to the guests well.”
Andreoli’s gift is a part of Ohio University's The Promise Lives Campaign, which seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $441 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University. Learn more at www.ohio.edu/campaign.