2019 Hospitality Scholarship

The Western New York Hotel/Motel Association and Visit Buffalo Niagara are pleased to announce the 2019 annual Hospitality Scholarship program is seeking nominations.

The $1000 scholarship, created in honor of Harry A. Flak (a hotel manager and firefighter who passed away in 2012) is being offered to a graduating Erie County high school senior, who will enroll or has already been accepted at a local (WNY) two or four year college or university in pursuit of a degree in the hospitality and/or tourism field.

Melanie Ulrich

The 2015 recipient of this scholarship was Melanie Ulrich from the Williamsville Central School District. Melanie is currently enrolled at Niagara University, majoring in Tourism and Event & Meeting Management.

Micaela Inglese received the award in 2016.  A graduate of Depew Union Free School District, Micaela is enrolled at Niagara University, majoring in Event Planning with a minor in Marketing.

Kaitlyn Norsen, graduating senior from Lancaster was the 2017 winner and she is attending the Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality Management at Trocaire. Our 2018 winner, pictured above, is Alyssa Zelaski who is attending Bryant & Stratton College.

Eligibility requirements

  • The student must be a graduating senior who resides in Erie County and is planning to enter the hospitality/tourism field.
  • The student must be accepted into an accredited learning institution in Western New York, taking classes directly related to tourism including (but not limited to): event planning, hotel/motel management, leisure studies, culinary arts, brand marketing – just to name a few.
  • They may be a full or part time student.
  • The scholarship must commence within twelve months of the scholarship award.
  • The scholarship may be used towards tuition and other college-related expenses, including books.  Two deposits will be made directly into their school account: $500 at the beginning of the semester and $500 after winter break.
  • GPA minimum requirement is 2.0; no FAFSA or SAR is required.

Harry Flak was known for his strong work ethic and dedication to the industry, beginning with his work as hotel General Manager, President of the Hotel/Motel Association and General Manager’s Advisory Board.   He led by example as a volunteer firefighter, at the West Side Rowing Club and St. Mary of the Lake Church.  These are attributes we look for in the successful candidate.

Interested applicants may apply; we also encourage guidance counselors, teachers, employers, community leaders or neighbors to apply on the student’s behalf.   There is no form to fill out; nominations must include two letters of reference that highlight why this individual should receive the scholarship, along with a color, wallet size photo which we may use during the National Travel & Tourism Beacon Awards luncheon, taking place May 7 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.   The nomination must also include proof of acceptance and enrollment into an accredited institution of higher learning (must come directly from registrar at institution) to Visit Buffalo Niagara before scholarship monies are awarded.

All scholarship materials must be sent in their entirety and submitted to Visit Buffalo Niagara, 403 Main Street, Suite 630, Buffalo, NY 14203, Attention: Cindy Kincaide, by April 12, 2019.  The winner will be notified the following week and the winner, their family and nominating teacher(s) will be invited to the Beacon Awards Luncheon on May 7, 2019 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center where the scholarship will be awarded.

Good luck!