Alum Reflects on Significance of Charter Day Scholarship

Tramaine Cooper, BS’07, MS’09 (Flor)

By Anne Sherber

A man in a suit stands, speaking at a podium.

Tramaine Cooper

Tramaine Cooper is now a two-time Charter Day speaker. He first spoke as a student back in 2007, and then returned in 2021, as a successful and engaged alumnus, to share the impact that his FDU education has had on his career.

Cooper, who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality management, received a Charter Day scholarship as a student and is now the senior director of brand performance support at Hilton Hotels and Resorts, responsible for supporting all of the new hotels in the Americas that join the company’s portfolio.

In 2007, a 22-year-old Cooper was feeling nervous. “There I was, in a tuxedo, addressing the generous friends of FDU,” he says. “My goal was to represent all of the recipients of scholarships at FDU and to make sure that those in attendance that night understood the incredible impact their generosity had and continues to have.”

Cooper credits FDU’s International School of Hospitality, Sports, and Tourism Management with much of his career success. “My time at FDU cemented my career goals, and the education that I received laid the foundation for the career I have today. Every professor I worked with had and shared real-world knowledge about the hospitality industry, the nuances of working in hospitality and ways to provide guests with exceptional experiences.”

FDU equipped him with the tools to think creatively, Cooper says, even in tough situations, especially the past two years in the hospitality industry. “While the pandemic has changed the hospitality and tourism industry, hospitality is fundamental to most of the world’s economies,” he notes. “The business may change, but people will always want to travel — for business, for pleasure, for visits to family and friends. And when people travel, they will want to feel at home and cared for.”

Cooper remains engaged, because, he says, it gives him the opportunity to give back some small part of what he received at FDU. In 2019, he was a guest speaker and moderated a panel discussion at FDU. And, he says, he is an enthusiastic cheerleader for FDU students who are accepted into Hilton’s internship programs.

“Charter Day 2007 was, for me, a step toward my goals,” Cooper says. “I was the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college and for my father, who accompanied me that night, it was a wonderful occasion and a very proud moment.”

Cooper recalls that because he was able to put “Charter Day speaker” on his résumé, which caught the eye of a recruiter for Wyndham Hotels, he was offered an internship at the company’s corporate offices in Parsippany, N.J.

Cooper says he is grateful to all the long-time supporters of FDU’s Charter Day. “The help that [scholarship donors] provide to the students of this wonderful institution has a ripple effect,” he says, “changing an almost unknowable number of lives — now and in the future — for the better.”