More than 25 years after the first hotels bearing the Oxford name opened, Bend-based Oxford Corporate now operates 17 hotels across the Western United States, with more on the way.

“As long as we’re having fun, we’re going to keep working, keep growing,” said Curt Baney, president of Oxford Corporate. “And we’re still having fun.”

On Tuesday, Baney and his wife, Robin, announced a $500,000 donation for Oregon State University-Cascades’ hospitality management program. Robin Baney, the chief operating officer of Oxford Corporate, said the gift could help jump-start the degree program, which would allow companies like Oxford to hire within the region, paving the way for that growth.

“I think it’s great training for the property, and also for the college,” Robin Baney said.

Todd Montgomery, instructor for OSU-Cascades hospitality management program, said the Baneys were instrumental in getting the program — the only one of its kind in Oregon — off the ground in 2013, providing initial funding and helping to direct the curriculum.

“It really speaks to the Baneys and their passion for the community and the industry,” Montgomery said Wednesday.

He added that the new gift will be used to hire a new permanent faculty member but will also provide money to help promote and grow the degree in other ways. Montgomery said it could help students take internships in other parts of the state or country. While the program is currently small, with around 15 students enrolled, he said it is growing, and the new campus should pave the way for further growth.

“Based on what we’re seeing in student demand, we’re going to need to add more people,” Montgomery said.

Curt Baney added that the new program provides the opportunity to bring on local students for internships and full-time positions, growing the company without having to recruit outside the region. Robin Baney said the company focuses heavily on customer service, and hiring qualified local students allows Oxford to develop that culture.

“That’s where having the opportunity to recruit and train people here at the corporate office can be a real benefit to us moving forward,” Robin Baney said.

Curt Baney said his father, Curtis O. Baney, began building motels in the 1950s. The younger Baney joined the company in 1980, and the Oxford brand was founded in 1988.

Today, the company employs about 20 people at the corporate level in Bend, and manages Oxford-branded hotels in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, including The Oxford Hotel in Downtown Bend.

Additionally, Curt Baney said the company is close to completing work on its 18th property, a 163-room Oxford Suites hotel in Rohnert Park, California. As is typical for Oxford, Robin Baney said, the company works with an in-house architect to capture the local culture. In Rohnert Park, located in Sonoma County, she said the design emphasizes the area’s focus on wine.

“When people wake up in Sonoma, they’re going to know they’re in wine country,” she said.

Curt Baney said the company typically only likes to build one project at a time, but he added that the company was eying several sites across the West, including Hillsboro and Sedona, Arizona. He added that the company is also looking at locations in Wyoming and Montana going forward.

— Reporter: 541-617-7818,

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