Entrepreneur Cameron Mitchell and Cameron Mitchell Restaurants have made their largest-ever gift to The Ohio State University — $500,000, composed of in-kind and cash support, to invest in the future of hospitality management.
On May 6, the gift was recognized during a check presentation ceremony and luncheon. This event highlighted the intention to “launch professionals into a field that nurtures relationships while it nourishes people.”
Mitchell and Cameron Mitchell Restaurants are among the first major donors to the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program, which will empower eligible Ohio State students to earn their bachelor’s degrees — debt-free.
Inspired by this program, they are creating the Cameron Mitchell Matching Gift Fund. Individuals or companies that contribute $100,000 or more will qualify for a 1-to-1 match from the fund to create new endowed scholarship funds or add to an existing fund in support of hospitality management undergraduate students.
“I am so appreciative of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ commitment to our university,” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. “This gift is building tremendous momentum behind our Scarlet & Gray Advantage program and making an extraordinary impact on our undergraduate students in hospitality management, up-and-coming restaurateurs and leaders.”
“We deeply value our longstanding partnership with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, which has appreciably enhanced the experiences of our students in hospitality management,” said Erik Porfeli, chair of the College of Education and Human Ecology’s Department of Human Sciences. “We believe this gift will inspire our students to pursue careers in the restaurant and events industries and spark their imaginations.”
The founder and CEO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants acknowledged the timeliness of the commitment, and that Ohio State is the right place to direct this support. The goal is to assist students who want to build careers in hospitality, as well as add vitality to an industry that has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This creates an incredible opportunity to partner with a renowned educational institution to support the hospitality leaders of tomorrow while strengthening the talent pipeline in central Ohio,” said Mitchell. “It is our passion and responsibility to foster the next generation of talent to ensure they have the resources needed to grow and thrive in the rewarding field of hospitality.”
David Miller, president and COO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, highlighted the strength of the Columbus community’s hospitality educational resources. This partnership with Ohio State aligns with the company’s values and enables it to cultivate talent.
“I look forward to seeing the positive outcomes of our support for years to come as graduates hopefully make the decision to grow their hospitality careers,” Miller said.
By expanding access for students with financial need, this gift will help the broader hospitality community recruit an increasingly diverse array of dedicated professionals.
“As a former lecturer in the hospitality program at Ohio State, I have had the privilege of helping foster a passion for the industry among rising stars,” said Melissa Johnson, vice president of Cameron Mitchell Premier Events and Community Relations. “Being able to support students as they enter the field has far-reaching impacts for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants as well as the entire hospitality industry.”
“We are thankful for this gift to scholarships and our hard-working students, a generous endorsement from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and Cameron Mitchell — who has long been committed to our Buckeyes and their bright futures,” said Michael C. Eicher, Ohio State’s senior vice president for Advancement and president of The Ohio State University Foundation.