"It is truly one of the jewels in the University’s crown. My time at FDU cemented my career goals and the education that I received laid the foundation for the career I have today."
When Tramaine Cooper, BS’04, MS’07, spoke at 2021’s Virtual Charter Day, he was hoping that he would serve as living proof of the impact that scholarship giving has one FDU’s students. As a student at FDU, Tramaine, who earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Hospitality, was a recipient of a Charter Day scholarship and is now the senior director of brand performance support at Hilton Hotels and Resorts, responsible for supporting all of the new hotels in the Americas that join the company’s portfolio.
In fact, it was not the first time that Tramaine spoke at Charter Day. In 2007, 22-year-old Tramaine was selected to be the evening’s student speaker. Tramaine recalls how nervous he was that night. “There I was, in a tuxedo, addressing the generous friends of FDU,” Tramaine says. “My goal was to represent all of the recipients of scholarships at FDU and to make sure that those in attendance that night understood the incredible impact their generosity had and continues to have.“
Tramaine credits FDU’s International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management with much of his career successes. “It is truly one of the jewels in the University’s crown. My time at FDU cemented my career goals and the education that I received laid the foundation for the career I have today. Every professor I worked with had and shared real world knowledge about the hospitality industry, the nuances of working in hospitality and ways to provide guests with exceptional experiences.”
Tramaine says that FDU equipped him with the tools to think creatively, even in tough situations, which certainly describes much of the past two years in the hospitality industry. “While the pandemic has changed the hospitality and tourism industry, hospitality is fundamental to most of the world’s economies,” he notes. “The business may change, but people will always want to travel – for business, for pleasure, to visit family and friends. And when people travel, they will want to feel at home and cared for.”
For this reason, he says, we will always need well-trained hospitality professionals.
Tramaine remains an engaged alumnus, because, he says, it gives him the opportunity to give back some small part of what he received at FDU. In 2019, he was a guest speaker and moderated a panel discussion at FDU. And, he says, he is an enthusiastic cheerleader for FDU students who are accepted into Hilton’s internship programs.
“Charter Day 2007 was, for me, a step toward my goals,” Tramaine says. “I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college and for my father, who accompanied me that night, it was a wonderful occasion and a very proud moment.” Tramaine recalls that, because he was able to put “Charter Day speaker” on his resume, which caught the eye of a recruiter for Wyndham Hotels, he was offered an internship at the company’s corporate offices in Parsippany.
Tramaine says he is grateful to all the long-time supporters of FDU’s Charter Day. “The help that you provide to the students of this wonderful institution has a ripple effect,” he says, “changing an almost unknowable number of lives now and in the future, for the better.”