Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management

Harts Name SHSRM School


California Pizza Kitchen Trip Group - 2015Long-standing friends and alumnus, G.J. (Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of California Pizza Kitchen) and Heather Hart, have named the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management at James Madison University.  On March 20, 2015, President Alger officially announced the naming and gift of over $3 million.  The gift is truly transformative for the School and James Madison University, as it is the first School at James Madison to be named in the University’s 100 + years of history.

Over the past eight years, the Hart’s have spent many hours on the JMU campus speaking with students and sharing their story.  Most recently, G.J. inspired the graduating class of December 2013 by speaking at Commencement and Heather participated and presented at the Women in Leadership conference in January 2015.  Their stories touch the lives of many, especially the stories about paying it forward and leading from the heart. 

Dr. Michael O'Fallon, Director of the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management (SHSRM), believes that the Hart’s will make a positive impression on all SHSRM students.

“G.J. and Heather are an inspiration to many.  In fact, they inspire me to be a better person tomorrow, than I am today.  I cannot wait to see how much of an impact the Hart’s will have on our students in years to come,” says O’Fallon.

The Hart’s have already made a significant impact on many students, especially those who had the opportunity to attend the California Pizza Kitchen (and prior to that, the Texas Roadhouse) Annual Operator’s Conference.  During the week of March 15th, eight hospitality management students worked side-by-side with California Pizza Kitchen and the ONYX Meetings and Events staff in San Diego, California.  These eight students were able to see what it was like, first-hand, to plan, coordinate and execute an event for 800 individuals.  In addition, the students took part in CPK’s “Inspired Acts” day working alongside 200 Marines at Camp Pendleton.  It was an experience they will never forget.

“I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to work the CPK Operator’s Conference.  Working alongside the CPK team, and the Marines at Camp Pendleton, was one of my favorite memories from our trip.  Overall, my experience was one I will never forget,” says Christina Dean, a Senior Hospitality Management student.

The faculty and students of The School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management could not be more honored to have the Hart’s name the school.

“We, in the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management, are truly humbled by this gift.  G.J. and Heather are two of the most kind, generous, and caring leaders that I know.  To have their name on our school is an honor,” says O’Fallon.

“The Hart family embodies passion, kindness, and inspiration.  G.J. and Heather are fully committed to their company, to each and every employee at California Pizza Kitchen, and to the community that surrounds them,” says Taylor Walton, a Senior Hospitality Management student.  These are characteristics that will help build the foundation of our school for years to come.

Without question, the Hart’s will continue to make an impact on our students, faculty, and local community.  Together, we will make the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management a world-class program.

G.J. Hart is the 2012 recipient of the School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management Hall of Fame and serves on both the Hospitality Management Advisory Council and the College of Business Advisory Board.

Published: Thursday, March 24, 2016

Last Updated: Saturday, February 10, 2018

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