Harris Rosen, Dean’s Advisory Board 2019

Inside Header Image

Harris Rosen, Dean’s Advisory Board 2019

As President and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Harris Rosen is Florida’s largest independent hotelier.

Founded in 1974, Rosen Hotels & Resorts currently features seven Central Florida hotels offering a total of more than 6,300 guestrooms—approximately six percent of the Central Florida inventory. The award-winning collection includes four leisure hotels—the 728-room Rosen Inn International, 1,020-room Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, 315-room Rosen Inn (closest to Universal Orlando® Resorts), and 640-room Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, as well as three convention properties—the 800-room Rosen Plaza, 1,334-room Rosen Centre, and 1,501-room Rosen Shingle Creek.

Rosen Hotels & Resorts has several subsidiaries that create synergy and maximize operational efficiencies. One of these subsidiaries, Millennium Technology Group, founded in 1997 as an internal
solution for Rosen Hotels & Resorts, is a leading provider of quality IT products and telecommunications services for the hospitality industry.

A second subsidiary is ProvInsure, Rosen’s insurance agency and risk management consulting company founded in 1995. Rosen Hotels & Resorts has been nationally recognized for its innovative, trend-setting associate wellness and preventative care programs as well as low-cost insurance and on-site, full-service medical facilities, all in the spirit of the Rosen Medical Center “A Place for Healing and Wellness.” ProvInsure assists companies in setting up self-insured healthcare programs and primary care medical centers similar to Rosen Hotels’ nationally recognized in-house programs in addition to providing a litany of insurance related products.

Rosen’s enthusiasm for health and wellness has been long-shared with his associates. An avid fitness buff and master swimmer, Rosen inspires a healthy approach to diet and exercise. He and his culinary team created Rosen’s Perfect Pizza™, a honey whole-wheat crust containing no trans fats that is sold at his seven hotels.

Early Career
Born and raised on New York City’s lower eastside, Rosen received a bachelor’s of science degree in 1961 from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. He served for three years in the United States Army as an officer in Germany and South Korea. Afterward he completed the Advanced Management course at the University of Virginia’s graduate school of business on a Hilton Corporate Scholarship.

Rosen began his career at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City as a convention salesman. He continued with the Hilton Hotels Corporation occupying various management positions in some of the larger Hilton properties. He worked as the Director of Food and Beverage Operations at the Pittsburgh Hilton, the Assistant General Manager at the Buffalo Statler/Hilton, New Yorker Hotel and the Dallas Hilton and as the General Manager at the Cape Kennedy Hilton in Florida.

Rosen then joined the Post Company of Dallas as Director of Hotel Operations where he was involved inthe development and management of one of its finest resort properties in Acapulco, Mexico. He left the Post Company after several years to join the Disney Company in California in 1968 as Director of Hotel Planning for Walt Disney World in Orlando. During his tenure, he was intimately involved in overseeing the design and development of the Contemporary Resort Hotel, the Polynesian Village Hotel, and the Fort Wilderness campground as part of the team that opened Walt Disney World in 1971.

Rosen Hotels & Resorts
Rosen left Disney and in 1974 purchased the 256-room Quality Inn on International Drive in Orlando (later expanded to 728 rooms). Shortly thereafter, Rosen acquired the Rodeway Inn International with 251 rooms. His next venture resulted in the purchase of 14 prime acres on International Drive leading to the development of the 1,020-room Quality Inn Plaza, which was at the time the largest Quality Inn in the nation. On May 15, 1987, Rosen completed the first phase of his 640-room Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista. In 2010, the property was upgraded to the Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista. That same year, Rosen chose to engage in extensive multi-million dollar renovations for his leisure hotel portfolio. 2010 also marks the year his properties were renamed under the Rosen brand: the Quality Inn Plaza became the Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando and the Rodeway Inn International became the Rosen Inn (closest to Universal Orlando® Resorts).

On September 13, 1991, the 800-room Rosen Plaza opened its doors as the first convention hotel in the Rosen Hotels & Resorts family and completed its first fiscal year with occupancies in the mid-ninety percent range. In October 1995, Rosen opened the 1,334-room Rosen Centre, the company’s second convention hotel. Both hotels bookend the West Building of the Orange County Convention Center and are connected via pedestrian skywalks.

In 2003, Rosen acquired 250 acres east of the Orange County Convention Center and began construction of his largest property to date: the 1,501-room Rosen Shingle Creek, which opened on September 9, 2006 (Rosen’s birthday). The hotel features 490,000 gross square feet of meeting and event space and world-class amenities including the 18-hole, championship Shingle Creek Golf Club, The Spa at Shingle Creek including a full-service salon and fitness center, four outdoor swimming pools, tennis court, beach volleyball, a nature trail, and more. In addition, guests enjoy 15 dining and lounging options including two nationally recognized, AAA Four Diamond restaurants: A Land Remembered and Cala Bella Italian bistro and the full-service, 24-hour 18 Monroe Street Market.

Impassioned Philanthropist
Education and wellness have long been at the forefront of Rosen’s philanthropic endeavors. In 2002, Rosen donated a 20-acre site at the foot of Rosen Shingle Creek and $10 million to the University of Central Florida (UCF) to develop the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. The college opened in January 2004 with fewer than 100 students and is currently among the fastest growing colleges in the United States climbing in enrollment to nearly 3,500 students to date. Rosen also funds a $2.5 million dollar scholarship endowment for UCF that is matched by the state of Florida.

Rosen strongly believes the opportunity to receive a better education can and must start as early as 2 years of age. This belief is evident in his 24-year commitment to the nearby underserved neighborhood of Tangelo Park. Since 1993, the Tangelo Park Program has provided free preschool for all 2-, 3-, and 4- year olds who live in the Tangelo Park neighborhood. All of the neighborhood youngsters who graduate from high school and are accepted to a trade school, community college, or 4-year public college in Florida are provided with an all-expense paid college education to include: tuition, books, room, and board—paid for by Rosen. Over the years, high school graduation rates have improved from approximately 55% to nearly 100%. Complementing the Tangelo Park program, Rosen has, since 2008, funded an alternative spring break for Cornell University students who visit and engage in a week-long mentoring program with the Tangelo Park students. To date, approximately 400 youth have received full college scholarships. Rosen is now embarking on a duplicate program in the Parramore neighborhood, an underserved urban community located near downtown Orlando, which is five times the size of the Tangelo Park neighborhood. Once again he will provide free preschool for all 2-, 3-, and 4-year olds in the neighborhood and a free trade school, community college or 4-year public college education to high school graduates living in this community.

In September 2009, the Jack and Lee Rosen Jewish Community Center, named in honor of Rosen’s parents, opened its doors. Rosen’s contribution of $5.1 million provided for a state-of-the-art facility and school that now serves approximately 150 students, ages 2 months to 5-years old. An additional $3.7 million multi-purpose theatre was added in 2016 through additional Rosen donation as a result of the tremendous growth and popularity of the center. Rosen served as the Honorary Co-Chair of the Bethune-Cookman University Statue Project with the late
Dr. Dorothy Height, President Emeriti of the National Council of Negro Women. In January 2005, the project team unveiled a statue sculpted of America’s beloved Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune including fountains and landscaping on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University, which Dr. Bethune founded in 1904. Rosen’s contributions have reach far beyond Orlando to other communities in need. Rosen Hotels has long contributed to Haiti relief, providing on-going medical and school supplies as well as hosting the “Water for Haiti Gala” in 2005 that raised $350,000 to send water filtration devices to Haiti, which are capable of providing clean drinking water to approximately 200,000 people. In 2010, Rosen launched the Haiti Relief Rebuild Sustain program. Through Rosen’s personal funding and charity, this philanthropic initiative raised $650,000 to provide aid to the victims of the 2010 earthquake. His dream of building an elementary school in Haiti has also come to fruition. In partnership with Food For The Poor, a new school located near Port-au-Prince is currently under construction.

Rosen is a member of the Cornell Society of Hotelmen and the Waldorf Astoria Distinguished Alumni Association. He is also the past president of Visit Orlando. He currently serves on the board of directors of the YMCA Aquatic Center. Through the years, Rosen has been honored to receive a number of distinguished accolades including, to name a few:

2016 – Citizen of the Year Award by the University of Florida’s Bob Graham Center
2016 – Outstanding Community Supporter of Education Award by Beta Xi Chapter of the National Sorority
of Phi Delta Kappa
2015 – The King Center Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award
2015 – American Heart Association Gary Sain “Go Red” Health Champion Award
2014 – Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center’s Dinner of Tribute Honoree
2013 – NAACP Humanitarian Award
2013 – Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Humanitarian Award
2012 – 100 Black Men, Inc. Chairman’s Award
2011 – Cornell University Entrepreneur of the Year 2011
2011 – Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame Inductee
2010 – Visit Florida Tourism Hall of Fame Award Inductee
2010 – Leading Light Award by The Sunshine State School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA)