Colorado State University Receives $150,000 from Hotel Chairman; Atrium of New Environmental Learning Center Will Bear His Name

Colorado State University will name the atrium of its new Environmental Learning Center for hotelier John Q. Hammons.

Hammons, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of John Q. Hammons Hotels, which includes the University Park Holiday Inn adjacent to Colorado State, recently presented the university with a $150,000 gift toward the completion of the center.

The Environmental Learning Center, located on Prospect Road near Interstate 25, will house the Fort Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau, a Colorado State Parks north region office and Colorado State’s Environmental Learning Center and the eighth-and final-state welcome center. The facility is expected to draw about 500,000 visitors annually.

"We’re delighted that John Hammons has chosen to continue his longtime and generous support of Colorado State University and particularly of its natural resources programs," said Al Dyer, dean of the College of Natural Resources. "Having his name in a building dedicated to educating the public about the natural world is fitting and appropriate."

A plaque acknowledging Hammons’ generosity will be placed in the atrium of the two-story structure.

"I am very honored to receive such prestigious recognition from Colorado State University," Hammons said. "John Q. Hammons Hotels has been committed to the university for 17 years and I am excited about continuing our relationship in the future."

The Environmental Learning Center is a working partnership among Colorado State, the city of Fort Collins, the Fort Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau and Colorado State Parks. Situated on more than 1,000 acres adjacent to the Cache La Poudre River, the Fort Collins Visitor and Environmental Learning Center will provide a gateway to Fort Collins and the natural wonders of the northern Front Range. Tourists, residents and students will have access to a wide array of information about the area’s cultural and natural history, natural resources and the unique environment where plains and mountains meet. A variety of projects and exhibits will be on display that focus on ways to enjoy the natural beauty of outdoor Colorado and preserve the environment.

The complex will serve a dual purpose:

  • It will provide community members and visitors access to natural areas, outdoors education programs, libraries, exploration areas, demonstrations and exhibits that explain the delicate balance between nature, modern technology and people.
  • The Welcome Center will greet visitors with information they need to enjoy Fort Collins and the northern Front Range, introducing them to area attractions, historical sites, dining and lodging, special events and shopping.

Hammons entered the hotel industry in 1958 and John Q. Hammons Hotels has developed 53 hotels in 22 states. Based in Springfield, Mo., the company owns and manages more than any other hotel management company in the country.

Other major contributors to the project include Coors Brewing Company, city of Fort Collins, Great Outdoors Colorado, Stryker Short Foundation, K&M Company, W.M.B. Berger Foundation and students of Colorado State.