Ben Weprin loves a good road trip, but when he celebrated the acquisition of his latest Graduate Hotels property this past year, he didn't just hop in one of the spiffy vintage Jeeps or Grand Wagoneers he collects. Instead, Weprin commandeered an exact replica of the fur-covered Mutt Cutts van, floppy dog ears and all, from the cult movie classic Dumb and Dumber.
The founder of AJ Capital Partners, an investment outfit in Chicago that develops hospitality destinations, is wacky like that, but he clearly keeps business front and center. In 2014 he noticed that most college towns lack any chic or upscale accommodations. His answer: a collection of hotels that reside in the most dynamic university towns across the country, each uniquely tailored to the spirit of the college community.
The tailgate tour in his Mutt Cutts van, stocked with Yeti coolers and cornhole boards, was an opportunity to engage with students, locals and visitors on the way to Providence, Rhode Island, home both to the movie's characters and Graduate's forthcoming location opposite Brown University.