Indianapolis-based group to assume management of Walden Inn in July

Friday, April 9, 2010
The Dora Hotel Company is set to assume management of the Walden in on July 1. The hotel has been operated by Sodexo since 2005.

GREENCASTLE -- According to information on DePauw's Web site, Indianapolis-based Dora Hotel Company will assume management of the Walden Inn -- a 55-room hotel, restaurant and conference center on the campus of DePauw University -- effective July 1.

Dora currently operates more than 20 hotels, including five in downtown Indianapolis and two adjacent to Indianapolis International Airport.

"Dora will bring active, local management and a wealth of energy to Walden Inn, which has become a DePauw institution since it opened in 1986," said Brad Kelsheimer, vice president for finance and administration at DePauw. "We're very excited about this new partnership and are confident that it will bring the Inn to new levels of customer service and overall excellence."

Timothy J. Dora, owner of Dora Hotel Company, agreed.

"The property's setting in the middle of one of the nation's finest and most beautiful liberal arts college campuses makes the Inn a prime facility, and its function spaces are clearly first-class," he said. "We are determined to bring a more energized and exciting atmosphere to Walden Inn, making it a center for campus and community life. We'll be rolling out specifics as we get closer to the July 1 date, but can't state emphatically enough how excited we are to be joining the DePauw and Greencastle communities."

Located on the northern end of the DePauw campus and a short distance from Greencastle's courthouse square, Walden Inn was acquired by the university in February 2005. Since that time, it has been operated by Sodexo, which is based in Maryland and operates throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Sodexo will continue to operate Walden Inn until July 1, and after that date will remain the campus food service provider (except for Walden Inn).

Dora's hotel properties are in Indiana and Illinois. The company operates student housing for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) and works closely with Indiana State University in Terre Haute, where it operates two hotels.

"We are a local company -- and I underline that word -- and were founded by my father," said Dora. "I am personally committed to making the Walden Inn a place that will invigorate the community and hope that this is only the beginning of an effort to work with DePauw and Greencastle to make this community, which is a real treasure with lots of history, even more of a treasure than it already is."

Trish L. Williams will serve as general manager of Walden Inn. She is currently regional general manager of Dora's West Central region.

A 16-year veteran of the hotel industry, Williams has received numerous awards for her properties and founded the Indiana State Choice Hotels Marketing Co-op program.

The inn is an important contributor to the local economy, employing 40 people and contributing approximately $70,000 to the community in the form of property taxes.

"This is an important place for our campus and community to gather and celebrate, and not many colleges have a quality inn and conference center only footsteps away from their academic quad," Kelsheimer said. "Twenty-five years after opening its doors, this marks a new beginning for the Walden Inn. I'm excited about the future and am confident that, once the change in management is completed this summer, that feeling will be shared by many in our community."

A 19,000 square foot expansion of the inn, completed in January 2003, created a new and much larger Fluttering Duck (for casual dinners, it also hosts live musical performances and is equipped with several televisions for enjoying sporting events), a lunch destination, a banquet room with space for 250 people (expandable to accommodate 100 more), and a coffee shop.

The Dora Family has been operating hotels in Indiana for over 40 years.

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  • Hopefully, this new management firm will be better than DePauw was. After DePauw took over the Inn, they did not honor previous contracts, instead raising prices for banquets already contracted for. We will see if Dora will be a "good neighbor" in Greencastle or if the "spirit of Bob Bottoms and Neil Abraham" will still prevail.

    -- Posted by not gullible on Fri, Apr 9, 2010, at 8:51 AM
  • Lets keep our fingers crossed on this one Greencastle. The Walden Inn WAS a community and campus center under the guidance of Matt O'Neill. Since O'Neill's departure, the Inn has been little more than an overpriced, ameteurish waste of space. Hopefully, under new management The Inn will again be "The Pearl of Greencastle".

    -- Posted by headlettuce on Fri, Apr 9, 2010, at 10:10 AM
  • i agree- if we could get the Walden back to Matt O'neill standards we would have a hit!!!

    -- Posted by talkymom3 on Fri, Apr 9, 2010, at 12:35 PM
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