Merani Scholarship recipient Katie Stone (center), with (l-r) Bridget Niland, dean of Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management; Dr. Youngsoo Choi, associate professor in the college; Katie’s parents Julie and Eric Stone; Faisal Merani, president of the Merani Hotel Group; and the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University.

Katie Stone, an incoming freshman in the Niagara University College of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s hotel/luxury hotel operations program, is the inaugural recipient of the university’s Merani scholarship, a collaboration between Niagara and the Merani Hotel Group to provide opportunities for high-level experiential learning in the hospitality industry. Stone, who graduated from Williamsville North High School in June, will receive a $30,000 scholarship and an internship with the organization. 

The scholarship was established in 2018 to synergize efforts to develop the outstanding hospitality leaders of tomorrow. Recipients will train and work alongside Merani executives at one of the organization’s five hotel properties in the Niagara Falls region--three on the American side of the falls and two in Ontario, Canada. Merani also operates a food truck and four restaurants. This exceptional opportunity will augment the knowledge gained in the classroom.

“I am so honored to receive the Merani scholarship, and I believe it will help me explore my career aspirations,” said Stone, who has worked in the hospitality industry for several years. “I can't wait to see what's in store for me at Niagara.”

Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management offers undergraduate degree programs in hotel and restaurant managementsport and recreation management, and tourism and event management, as well as a graduate program in sport management. To learn more, please call 716.286.8279 or visit

Additional information on the Merani Hotel Group can be found at