Harris Rosen, Rosen Tangelo Park Preschool Foundation, Inc., Rosen Parramore PS8 Foundation, Inc., President and Chief Operating Officer of Rosen Hotels & Resorts
As President and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Harris Rosen is Florida’s largest independent hotelier.
Founded in 1974, Rosen Hotels & Resorts currently features a collection of eight Central Florida hotels providing 6,694 guestrooms—approximately six percent of the Central Florida inventory. The award-winning collection includes five leisure hotels—the 728-room Rosen Inn International, 1020-room Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando, 315-room Rosen Inn (closest to Universal Orlando Resort®), 640-room Rosen Inn Lake Buena Vista, and the 358-room Midpointe Hotel. Three luxury convention properties — the 800-room Rosen Plaza, 1334-room Rosen Centre and 1501-room Rosen Shingle Creek—combined feature 700,000 sq. ft. of versatile meeting and event space.
Rosen Hotels & Resorts owns several subsidiaries that create synergy and maximize operational efficiencies. 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.
ProvInsure, Rosen’s insurance agency and risk management consulting company, was 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 arranging 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 is well-known and well-respected by 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 whole-wheat honey crust containing no trans fats that is sold at seven of his hotels.
Born and raised on New York City’s lower Eastside, Rosen received a Bachelor of Science 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 in the 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 Pointe Orlando, the Quality Inn International became the Rosen Inn International and the Rodeway Inn International became the Rosen Inn closest to Universal Orlando Resort®.
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 255 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 524,000 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.
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. Ranked number two among hospitality colleges worldwide, the Rosen 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 more than 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 and is funding a planned future expansion of the much acclaimed college.
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 long-time commitment to the underserved Orlando neighborhood of Tangelo Park. Since 1993, Rosen’s 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 or university 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 dramatically from approximately 55% to nearly 100%. To date, approximately 250 Tangelo Park youth have received full college scholarships.
In 2016, Rosen’s passion for providing hope through education opportunities led him to embark on a similar 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 provides free trade school, community college or four-year Florida public college education to high school graduates living in this community. More than 40 Parramore youth have received college scholarships. In 2017, Rosen opened the Rosen Preschool at the Orange County Public Schools Academic Center for Excellence as an extension of this program. He provides funding for a 24-classroom onsite preschool for all 2-, 3- and 4-year olds in the neighborhood. In 2017, Rosen also announced the addition of three private college scholarships at Rollins College, located in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, to be made available to recipients of both scholarships programs.
Complementing both programs, 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 and more recently Parramore students.
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. In 2016, an additional $3.7 million multi-purpose theatre was donated by Rosen to accommodate 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. After 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, Rosen rebuilt more than 100 Haitian homes devastated by the hurricane. The new homes were unveiled in 2017 and feature hurricane-resistant features and more modern facilities.
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 Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center and on the dean’s advisory board of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at UCF. Through the years, Rosen has been honored to receive a number of distinguished accolades including, to name a few:
2018 – Orlando Business Journal’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Diversity in Business Award
2018 – World Health Care Congress, Lifetime Achievement Diamond Award — Health Benefits Innovation
2018 – World Health Care Congress, Lifetime Achievement Diamond Award — Public Leadership
2018 – International Drive YMCA facility becomes the Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center
2018 – Ambassador for the Poor Award, Food for the Poor
2017 – Orlando Business Journal’s CEO of the Year
2017 – Orlando Business Journal’s Philanthropist of the Year
2017 – International Drive Resort Area Chamber’s Harris Rosen Philanthropy Award (named in his honor as an annual award)
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
2016 – Inducted into the U. S. Army ROTC National Hall of Fame
2015 – The King Center Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award
2015 – Orange County Public Schools’ Philanthropist Hall of Fame
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 Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year 2011
2011 – Central Florida Hospitality Hall of Fame Inductee
2010 – Visit Florida Tourism Hall of Fame Award Inductee
Jennifer Cronk, Rosen Preschool Executive Director
Jennifer’s long career in education is driven by her desire to provide students with the tools they need to succeed in life. Her commitment to their success is grounded in a belief that everyone should be afforded a safe, loving place to learn. As executive director, her goal for the Rosen Preschool is to serve as the proactive link that prepares children for public school and beyond, as well as help teachers and staff grow professionally.
Jennifer has known since high school that she wanted to work with children. She loves being around them, learning their perspectives on the world, and finding the best ways to guide them individually so they can reach their fullest potential.
Her first role in early childhood education was as a part-time floater at a childcare center. Heeding the call to her career, Jennifer completed an internship with the U.S. Navy in San Diego at a childcare facility and obtained a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. After graduation, Jennifer worked in the Michigan public school system. She also taught college students and preschoolers at a local community college and then became a Head Start site supervisor. Then she moved to Florida to work with the Early Head Start and Head Start programs as the quality assurance coordinator and enrollment coordinator. Afterward, she joined Rosen Preschool in Parramore as assistant director and was later promoted to executive director.
Jennifer — born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit — lives in Clermont, Florida, with her husband, three children, and two dogs. Jennifer loves to shop and is often teased by her husband that she should be a personal shopper. She also enjoys reading and spending as much quality time as she can with her children, which included a stint as a board member at her son’s school. Jennifer values this time because she knows as her children age, they will become more independent.
Her family strives to be kind, loving, and compassionate to every living thing and even became a vegan household, which they have been since 2014. Each day they live by the inspiring words of the 14th Dalai Lama: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
Yolanda Grant, Rosen Tangelo Park Preschool Executive Director
Yolanda was born and raised in Central Florida, where her love for teaching began at an early age. As a child, she played the role of teacher for her younger brother at home in pretend-games of school. She would give her brother worksheet assignments to complete and took him on field trips to the local community park. By the time she was nine years old, she was already volunteering at her brother’s preschool. Yolanda was always driven by her goal to teach.
By freshman year in high school, she completed all courses for the 45 mandated hours of Florida childcare training and received college credits towards her degree in early childhood education. After completing the early childhood program at Brantley High School, Yolanda accepted a Florida Bright Futures scholarship to begin her studies in elementary and early childhood education at Seminole State College.
For Yolanda, nothing beats the thrill of each new day’s adventure, whether it is the joyful cries of children mastering a new skill or it is helping children succeed in overcoming a disability. She has enjoyed the last 15 years working in a classroom, which she considers her “happy place” even in her current leadership role. Yolanda’s goal for the Rosen Preschool program is to provide high-quality early childhood education in a safe, nurturing, and joyful environment. She hopes each child leaves with a passion for learning and for every parent to feel confident that their child is in the best care possible.
Yolanda enjoys crafting and journaling in her personal time, as well as traveling with her family, sightseeing, and trying new things. Outside of the joys she finds in a classroom, Yolanda is at her happiest cheering on her little ones at the sidelines of a baseball match or dance competition.