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“Where are They Now” Story featuring a Cypress College student who earned the AOCHLA scholarship!

Thursday, March 14, 2019  
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#CYPossible: Rick Richardson, Operations Manager at Marriott International

Cypress College - January 30, 2019 

Completing coursework calls for celebration, and we are proud to celebrate with Cypress College’s newest degree- and certificate-holders. By achieving these education goals, graduates and certificate-earners are equipped to continue on their college path or find strong footholds in the career fields they’ve chosen. We’ve taken the journey with these outstanding students, and know that when they look to the horizon, they see what is #CYPossible.

Rick made a complete career about-face, after an accident left him unable to continue coaching tennis. He was encouraged to go into Hotel Management, and discovered he had a knack for the industry. A transfer to Cal Poly, enrollment in the Marriott International’s Voyage Development Program, and several steps up in his career, Rick now oversees housekeeping and engineering at Courtyard Anaheim Buena Park and has dreams for the future as well as appreciation for his past at Cypress College.

Please tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests? What is your story?

I was raised in the Midwest. As a junior I played competitive tennis and as a young adult I taught professional tennis. I had my own tennis academy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and was the head coach for the United States’ Tennis Association boys’ and girls’ 12’s National team, and won the National Clay Court Championship.

Why did you choose to attend Cypress College and how did being a student here help you find your first position after completion?

In 2003, I suffered a freak and rare accident from a mere slip and fall. I had complete tears of both quadriceps, ruptured the right patella and complete rupture of the bottom three vertebrae (3, 4, and 5). After five surgeries and 7 years of extensive physical therapy, I was taught to walk again.

As part of the rehabilitation process, they try to find a way to integrate the patient back into society. Because I would never be able to play tennis again, it was suggested by a counselor that perhaps I try working in a hotel. Cypress [was one of only several junior colleges that] offered a hotel management program. On the day I enrolled, Lisa Clark happened to be visiting my counselor. The counselor introduced me to Lisa; she was so kind and welcoming and even though the classes were closed, she told me to apply and she would ensure I got in.

So that is where it began. Lisa taught me the essentials of becoming a hospitality professional. I remember her saying, “Rick, it is not what we do; it is who we are.”

What were you involved in at Cypress College? How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path?

I was Hospitality and Culinary Club Secretary and graduated from Cypress with a 4.0 in my discipline; having made the Dean’s list every semester except two, for which I made the President’s Honor Roll. In 2012 I received the Cypress College Scholarship Award from the Anaheim Orange County Hotel & Lodging Association.

As far as faculty, Lisa Clark, Chef Jeremy, Jeanette Jones, Chef Stephanie, Chef Tracy, and Jane Jepson—each of these played intricate roles in my professional development and helped shape who I would become as a hotel manager. All of whom I still keep in contact with and continue to seek mentorship and guidance.

Read More: https://www.cypresscollege.edu/2019/01/30/cypossible-rick-richardson-operations-manager-at-marriott-international/