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Hotel Mogul Enhances Florida Community Through Education

Posted: 10/02/2014 10:25 am EDT Updated: 10/02/2014 10:59 am EDT

Harris Rosen and his Shingle Creek Luxury Hotel

Harris Rosen has built an empire of hotels in Florida, but perhaps his most fruitful endeavor has been the Tangelo Park Program, which he founded to better a local community through education.

Rosen bought his first motel in 1974 and grew his business from there. Being fortunate to have a successful chain of properties, the Cornell graduate wanted to give back.

“Twenty-two years ago, planning Shingle Creek our resort, suddenly it occurred to me that I’d been blessed beyond anything I ever imagined and it was time for me to say thank you in some way.”

Rosen put his focus on Tangelo Park, a struggling community near Orlando, Fla. where, at the time, only 60 percent of students graduated from high school. He developed several programs in which parents, children and high school students could take part. This included an outstanding scholarship program.

“Every youngster who graduates from high school and is accepted into vocational school, or community college, or a public college in Florida gets a completely free college education — room, board, tuition, books, travel — everything taken care of,” he explained.

Harris Rosen engaging with Tangelo's youngest students

Since the Tangelo Park Program has been in place, crime in the neighborhood has been reduced and over 270 high schoolers have been sent to college. Of those students, 100 percent have graduated. Rosen stated, “We’re infusing in a neighborhood something that is missing: hope.”