"Put your money where your mouth is."
That advice is always easier said than done. But University
of Memphis alumnus Frank Flautt, hotelier and president of
Flautt, Inc., has given to his alma mater freely not only
with his pocketbook, but also with his time, energy and expertise.
Flautt (BS '63), co-founder of Florida-based Sandcastle Resorts,
is a frequent visitor to Memphis and the University. A steadfast
booster of Tiger Clubs, this successful businessman has also
donated countless hours on The U of M Board of Visitors as
past secretary and as past Annual Fund chair.
Flautt's latest contribution, a personal $500,000 gift, has
turned heads. For Flautt, giving is a natural "thank you."
Once an employee of Holiday Inn, he says he owes much to the
legacy of Kemmons Wilson.
"Quite frankly, there wasn't a hotel industry when he started,"
Flautt says. "The whole industry as we know it today was created
Flautt has made the best of his business opportunities and
industry know-how, but philanthropy is not a new concept for
him. Aside from The U of M, he's lent a helping hand to Independent
Presbyterian Church, the Church Health Center and the Evangelical
Christian School in Memphis, along with Court Appointed Special
Advocates (CASA), an organization that helps abused and neglected
"I want to build more people up because I'm certainly fortunate
to be in the position I'm in," Flautt says. Aligned to the
philosophy that success requires hard work and a little luck,
Flautt admits that "timing was everything in my career." But
his effort is evident: When he worked for Holiday Inn in the
1960s, he estimates that it took 10,000 proposals to start
1,500 new hotels.
Fogelman College of Business and Economics Dean John Pepin
has known Flautt since 1960 and has witnessed his work ethic
for some time.
"Frank is a graduate who has worked diligently in the hotel
industry," Dr. Pepin (BBA '62, MBA '64) says. "He's also given
his sweat equity' to this University for more than two
years. As a result of his leadership, the Wilson School has
received approximately $2.8 million in gifts and pledges."
Flautt, who also spearheaded a project that raised $2.5 million
for the construction of the Athletic Office Building addition,
says his fund-raising efforts for the Wilson School are not
yet finished. The goal is to raise more than $3 million in
order to endow the school's chair and set up student scholarships.
Meantime, Flautt hopes that Wilson School students can learn
from "the ground up" and launch productive careers.
"Students who are properly trained will be able to function
anywhere," he says. "If we train the person right about the
basic skills, they can be successful no matter where they
With Flautt's commitment to the Wilson School, students'
chances for success are greater than ever.
also: Wilson School Checks In