Alumnus James Francis elected new trustee at Board meeting

College alumnus James L. Francis II
May 08, 2014

College alumnus James L. Francis II of Stevensville, Md., has been named to the McDaniel College Board of Trustees at its annual meeting held on the Westminster campus April 26.

Francis is president and CEO and a Trustee of Chesapeake Lodging Trust headquartered in Annapolis (since 2009), a self-advised real estate investment trust that focuses investments primarily in upper-upscale hotels in major business and convention markets. The company currently owns 20 hotels in eight states and the District of Columbia.

He began his career in the hospitality industry, specializing in finance and strategic planning with Host Marriott and Marriott International, Inc. Prior to joining Chesapeake Lodging Trust, Francis was the founder and served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Highland Hospitality Corporation, or Highland, positions that he held from Highland’s IPO in December 2003 to its sale in July 2007. Following the sale of Highland, he served as a consultant to the affiliate of JER Partners that acquired Highland until September 2008.

Jim, as he is known to his college classmates, graduated summa cum laude in Economics and Business Administration from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) in 1984. He was a member of Alpha Gamma Tau fraternity and was co-captain of the basketball team. During his senior year, Francis was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa and was named the top Economics student and winner of  the Wall Street Journal award, He also received the Bates Prize as the most outstanding male student. In 1986, he earned an MBA in Finance and Accounting at Vanderbilt University.

Jim has three daughters, two with his wife, Diane Zimmerman Francis.