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WE ARE CONRAD N. HILTON COLLEGE. WE ARE HOSPITALITY. WE ARE THE BEST in hospitality education and research as regarded globally by the academic and hospitality communities. We embrace and foster an environment that includes Community... Relevancy... Collaboration... Multiculturalism... Experiential Learning... Innovation... Integrity... Passion...

THIS IS OUR MISSION.


CELEBRATING 50 REASONS WE ARE HOSPITALITY Publisher & Executive Editor

Dean Dennis Reynolds Writer & Editor in Chief

Debra Kay Maurer Creative and Art Director & Senior Graphic Designer

Katie Guidroz Assistant Managing Editor, Photographer & Contributing Writer

Pearl K. Cajoles Contributing Graphic Designer

Nicole Olavarria-Key Contributing Photographers

Hospitality Industry Archives, Ladd Photography, Michael Scott, Taylor Wiley and others Printing

Southwest Precision Printers, L.P. in partnership with UH Printing Services

“Celebrating 50 Reasons We Are Hospitality” was produced by the Hilton College Office of Communications. 8.2019/12.5M/KG/SWP

© 2019 by Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. All rights reserved.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Creating this special anniversary book has been more than a labor of love – it’s been the creative experience of a lifetime, for all of us. When we started this project, it was about what we were doing and how we were going to get it done. The more time we spent doing it, the more it became about who we were doing it with. While it’s not possible to acknowledge all of our colleagues, friends and families who have been so supportive of us and this project, we would like to single out just a few of the individuals who helped us to cross the finish line. Thank you to Donna Shaw, the Dean’s executive assistant, who talked to Paul Schultz at the San Luis in Galveston. To Paul who graciously offered us one of his conference rooms for a working lunch. Those killer crab cakes fueled our brainstorming session and we were off and running! To Gautam Taneja, our IT ninja and unofficial member of our creative team who set us up to work on this project from anywhere at any time. A very special thanks to Professor Emeritus Clint Rappole and his incredible encyclopedic memory. Dr. Rappole spent no less than a hundred hours on the phone talking with Debbie about the early years of this College. We are grateful for his time and commitment to reviewing our copy and helping us to get our facts straight. To Dr. Mark Young, the College’s archivist, who was also essential on anything historical or Hilton related. We so appreciate his responsiveness to all of our questions and, especially, for allowing Katie and Pearl to camp out in the archives whenever they needed to go “treasure hunting.” And to archival assistant Dr. Maria Corsi, who scanned more materials than we could ever use – just in case we might need them. Thank you to Bob Planck (’71) for taking us down memory lane. When we had questions about student life or past deans, Bob was just an email away. To Dr. John Bowen, a professor here long before he became dean, who filled in some gaps and pointed us in the right directions. He helped us find our way out of more than one rabbit hole as we took off to find answers to our oh so many questions! And to Nick Massad (’73) for his timely 11th-hour details on an element we really needed to include. And most of all, our heartfelt gratitude to Dean Dennis Reynolds, who continued to embrace our concept even as it kept getting bigger and taking on a life of its own. Like he told us, “You only turn 50 once. This is the time to tell our story – let’s do it right!” Thanks, Dean, for trusting us – and for the extra time we needed to make this book a legacy piece that we can all be proud of. It really is the people who you take the journey with that makes the end result so worthwhile! With gratitude, Debbie, Katie, Pearl and Nicole Hilton College Communications


First day of class, September 16, 1969

This book is dedicated to the WE in WE ARE HOSPITALITY.


CONTENTS A LETTER TO MR. HILTON

01

02

03

04

BRIEF HISTORY

DEAN TAYLOR AND HIS ORIGINAL DREAM TEAM

OPENING OF THE NORTH AND WEST WINGS

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Page 12

Page 16

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LEADERSHIP

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SOUTH WING ADDITION

HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY ARCHIVES

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

HILTON UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

BARRON'S RESTAURANT

GRADUATE PROGRAM

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Page 42

Page 48

Page 50

Page 54

Page 58

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INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS & STUDY ABROAD

HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HALL OF HONOR

HALL OF HONOR GALLERY

MASTER’S IN GLOBAL HOSPITALITY

EXECUTIVE EDUCATION

ERIC HILTON DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI CLUB

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MASSAD FAMILY LIBRARY RESEARCH CENTER

PH.D. PROGRAM & RESEARCH COLLABORATION

SPEC'S BEVERAGE & FOOD APPRECIATION LABORATORY

ALUMNI HALL Page 118

HILTON COLLEGESAN ANTONIO

HILTON MILESTONE ANNIVERSARIES

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Page 122

Page 112

Page 114

Page 116

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50 VISION FOR THE FUTURE

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BREWPUB

HOTEL EXPANSION

GRADUATION

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05

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FACULTY

COMMUNITY

STAFF

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STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

DIVERSITY & INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

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GOURMET NIGHT

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HOUSTON & THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON

INDUSTRY PARTNERS Page 62

HILTON FOUNDATION & OUR PHILANTHROPIC COMMUNITY

CAREER DEVELOPMENT & CAREER FAIR

INTERNSHIPS & LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

GRADUATE CONFERENCE

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Page 66

Page 70

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TAILGATES

SUMMER CAMPS

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Page 96

FRED PARKS WINE CELLAR & BOARDROOM

BEVERAGE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

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Page 100

Page 102

Page 60

29 KEEPERS OF THE LAMP Page 92

Page 72

COUGAR GROUNDS

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ALUMNI

DEAN'S UNDERGRADUATE ADVISORY COUNCIL

PLACEMENT RATE

ERIC’S CLUB CENTER FOR STUDENT SUCCESS

SYSCO STUDENT KITCHEN

PASSIONATE STUDENTS

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Page 132

Page 124

Page 126

ABOUT OUR CREATIVE TEAM

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Page 128

On the next page: Conrad Hilton’s Stetson, Rolodex and desk pen set from our Hospitality Industry Archives.


October 28, 2019


01

IT STARTED WITH A DREAM – A BRIEF HISTORY

“. . . THE KEEPER OF THE INN IS THE KEEPER OF THE FLAME, THAT THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD FLAME OF HOSPITALITY WHICH THE GRADUATES OF OUR HILTON SCHOOL OF HOTEL AND RESTAURANT MANAGEMENT MUST HOLD HIGH AND CARRY INTO THE HOTELS OF THE 21ST CENTURY.” — Excerpt from Conrad N. Hilton’s “Beyond the Horizon” speech given at the Shamrock Hilton in Houston on October 28, 1969

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he prologue to our story began in 1947, when the University of Houston became host to the Texas Hotel Association’s Short Course in Hotel Management – the premier continuing education lodging class in the nation that still draws hundreds of hospitality professionals to Hilton College annually. Dr. James C. Taylor, who was then dean of Continuing Education, had been in charge of the program for more than 20 years and was pleased to have brought hospitality education to Houston. But his dreams were far bigger… He aspired to create a worldclass hotel school, the first of its kind in Texas.


Taylor

For years, he had advocated for a hotel school on the UH campus, relentlessly leveraging his connections with the local and national Club Managers Association of America, the state and local hotel associations, and the Texas Restaurant Association – among others – to support his vision. Once he had the industry’s backing, he looked to secure a benefactor. For Dr. Taylor, the choice was apparent. Hotel magnate Conrad N. Hilton was the epitome of excellence in hospitality. Though he was born in San Antonio, New Mexico rather than San Antonio, Texas, he was received throughout Texas as a native son. Dr. Taylor approached Eric Hilton to discuss his vision for the UH hospitality school. The patriarch’s son was intrigued and asked him to translate his dreams to paper. Impressed with Dr. Taylor’s proposal, Eric shared them with his brother, Barron, in August 1969. The Hilton brothers, both of whom would play indispensable roles in the growth of the College, agreed it would be an honor to name the school after their father and build it in Texas, where the iconic founder of Hilton Hotels Corp. had gotten his start in the hotel business.

“... And for me, the promise of hotels as an industry is far beyond the horizon of the moon. That is why I am making this gift to the university [of Houston], to see that there are young men and women prepared to reach that horizon and beyond... to give today’s students, the future hotelmen of America, the opportunity that I did not have...” this historic evening,

Classes began on September 16, 1969 with 39 students and three adjunct professors. Until our facility was opened for business in March 1974, HRM classes were held in both the Heyne Building and McElhinney Hall on campus. In 1971, the first seven students of the new Hilton School walked across the commencement stage. For most of these graduates, their studies had begun as Restaurant and Institutional Management majors two years earlier through the University’s Home Economics department before the Hilton School was established. The name changed from “School” to “College” in 1978. Thanks to the Hilton family’s unwavering support and the untold contributions of individuals and organizations too numerous to attest in this brief history, Dr. Taylor’s dream was finally being realized. Conrad N. Hilton died in 1979, and he could only have imagined the impact that his gift would make in the world of hospitality education. The College that bears his name remains a “keeper of the flame.” And his desire to “hold high and carry that thousand-year-old flame of hospitality into the hotels of the 21st century” lives on through our graduates who are leading the industry.

Conrad Hilton built his empire by decisively seizing opportunity. In 1919, as the story goes, Hilton visited Cisco, Texas during the oil boom intending to buy a bank. When the deal fell through, he went to the train station across the street from the Mobley Hotel and noticed the roughnecks from the Ranger oilfield waiting in line for a room. He decided to check in as well, but spent the night on the couch in the lobby because no beds were available. The next morning, he bought the hotel on the spot! When presented with yet another opportunity of a lifetime 50 years later, he once again seized the day. On October 28, 1969, University and industry leaders, along with state and city officials, gathered at the Shamrock Hilton to witness Conrad Hilton’s donation of a $1.5 million naming gift to establish what would soon be called the Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. As he remarked in his speech during

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BUILDING ON A DREAM – FOUNDING DEAN TAYLOR AND HIS ORIGINAL ‘DREAM TEAM’

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ittingly, Dr. James Taylor was named the College’s first dean in 1969 and served until his retirement in July 1981. He used the momentum of Conrad Hilton’s naming gift and the national publicity it brought to create an autonomous college, one of only a few in the country at that time, and to raise the additional $5.5 million needed to fund the construction.

As the fledgling program began to find its footing, Jim Taylor took advantage of every opportunity to ensure its future, and Barron Hilton continued to be one of his biggest champions. In January 1980, Hilton, who was now board chairman and president of Hilton Hotels Corporation, visited the College to speak to students and faculty. The American Hotel & Motel Association was also holding its national convention in downtown Houston, and many from its membership broke away to the College to listen to him speak. Hilton announced to a very enthusiastic audience that his desire was to establish the Conrad N. Hilton College as the “No. 1 hotel and restaurant program in the world.” The student response to his declaration was palpable! Dean Taylor and Barron Hilton were on the same page. The wheels were already turning. Hilton, who also served on the board of his father’s foundation, told Dean Taylor to put a plan in writing. He didn’t miss a beat! After soliciting input from his faculty and industry partners, Dean Taylor drafted a proposal to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation that he hoped would achieve that goal and secure the College’s financial future. His original grant proposal was for an $18.5 million. In spring 1981, Dean Taylor flew to the Hilton Foundation in Beverly Hills, California to personally deliver the proposal. In 1983, an amended grant for $21.3 million was awarded to Hilton College. His dream had come full circle.

THE FOUNDING DEAN Jim Taylor was an undeniable dreamer. But he was also a doer and pioneer for the industry. By all accounts, he was larger than life. Dubbed “Little LBJ,” Dean Taylor was a brazen, ambitious lawyer and labor arbitrator. Moreover, he was a shrewd politician who possessed both the requisite audacity and industry contacts to make things happen. His dogged tenacity and endless fervor also kept the College moving forward, and he worked tirelessly to promote it. Without his unflinching drive, Hilton College simply would not exist today. But for all his bravado, he had a heart of gold and students adored him. Dean Taylor’s passion, the relationships he developed with the Hilton family and that first critical grant proposal are just a few of the reasons that Hilton College stands today. He also had the ability to attract great faculty. He tapped Donald Greenaway, a gifted teacher and former head of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), to be his right-hand man – a truly brilliant choice as affirmed by students and industry players. He hired Frank Romanelli for his food & beverage expertise and to serve a dual role as professor and administrator under Greenaway. And later, he recruited Dr. Clinton L. Rappole, who bridged the gaps between administrations, as his first faculty member with a doctoral degree.


THE FIRST ASSOCIATE DEAN Donald Greenaway served as the College’s first associate dean from 1969 to 1976. He excelled at translating Dean Taylor’s vision into actions and used his extensive contacts throughout the hospitality industry, which were essential during the College’s formative years, to benefit our program and students. A decorated war hero, Greenaway’s reputation from past executive-level leadership positions held at the NRA, Michigan State, Trans World Airlines and Washington State University brought instant credibility and national prominence to the College. A rarity in higher education, Greenaway held only a bachelor’s degree. Still, he was among the wisest and most learned leaders ever to serve the College and our industry. One phone call from him would open doors for his students around the world. An extraordinary teacher, father figure for many, and a genuinely caring soul who touched and changed lives, Greenaway was the perfect “yin” to Dean Taylor’s “yang.” Together, the duo proved unstoppable. After seven years in this role, he left the College to work for the Texas Restaurant Association, with his tenure setting the bar high for those who would follow in his footsteps.


THE FIRST FULL-TIME PROFESSOR Frank Romanelli wore many hats when he became the College’s first full-time professor in 1970. A crucial member of Dean Taylor’s administrative team, he was to Greenaway what Greenaway was to Taylor. The two were good friends and knew each other from Michigan State, where Romanelli earned his bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration. He also received his MBA from Texas A&M University. When a brochure about a new hospitality school in Houston was mailed to all of the hotels in Texas, he was the listed contact – providing admissions guidance and even registering students for classes from his small office on Caroline Street in downtown Houston. With a limited staff, Professor Romanelli was the go-to guy and moved between his administrative and teaching roles with finesse. He taught the food & beverage classes and was considered an excellent teacher. A devout Christian with a strong religious background, he was strict and straightforward. His classes were all business and he held his students to a high standard. Tough, but also fair and kind, he went out of his way to counsel and tutor his students. He wanted only the best for them – even allowing exams to be retaken because he knew they could do better. When he left in 1978 for a position as executive manager of Anderson Mayfield hotel in the Texas Medical Center, he had made his mark in moving the College forward.

THE FIRST PH.D. PROFESSOR Dr. Clinton L. Rappole earned his master’s and Ph.D. at Cornell University and was part of its faculty for seven years before answering the call from Dean Taylor in August 1972. Since the College’s early days, he was the one constant, bridging the gap between administrations as associate and interim dean, and remaining actively engaged as a dedicated mentor and unofficial historian well past his retirement in 2005. A highly regarded food scientist, Dr. Rappole lectured and consulted worldwide. His innovative research in foodservice systems for offshore drilling platforms and other remote and inhospitable locations, as well as his collaborations with NASA, helped raise the national profile of the College. Uncompromising in his standards, he had a reputation for being tough, but fair. His food safety and sanitation lectures were legendary! During his tenure, Dr. Rappole impacted thousands of students – not only in his classroom, but as the faculty advisor for the early Gourmet Nights, co-founder of Par Excellence and, in 2005, as founder of Eric’s Club. Dr. Rappole also held the first Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair. Today, he is professor emeritus.

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A DREAM MATERIALIZED – AT LAST, A PLACE TO CALL HOME 16

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e can only imagine the pride and pure unadulterated joy that Dean James Taylor must have felt when construction on his school – the very first hospitality school in Texas – commenced in the fall of 1971. After decades of tireless plotting, planning, persisting and pursuing, it was finally happening. The most iconic hotelier in the world had conferred his full support and even his name to his dream – their dream – and the Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management was soon to become more than just a name on paper, more than just a set of blueprints and so much more than one man’s flight of fancy.

As Dean Taylor watched his vision literally grow brick by brick from the ground up, the edifice that was materializing at 4450 University Drive would not only come to represent the culmination of his life’s work, but it would also become the pinnacle of a first-class-hospitality program that others around the world would eventually try to emulate. His was a dream that would arguably transform hospitality education for generations to come. From the get-go, Dean Taylor envisioned the Hotel School – as it was called then – and its teaching hotel to be fully integrated. The North »

Pictured from left: Dean James Taylor Donald Greenaway Eric Hilton Gus Mutscher Barron Hilton Frank Romanelli


Wing of our new complex would encompass the “University of Houston Hotel,” a full-service restaurant, an underground hotel parking garage, administrative offices and classrooms for both the College we know today and the University’s Continuing Education Center. The West Wing would house additional College faculty offices, six classrooms, the office of Associate Dean Donald Greenaway, plus an all-important student lounge.

This was a dynamic and exciting time to be a student at the University of Houston. You could actually see the city’s burgeoning skyline shimmering in the distance, and the anticipation of having a student-run hotel on campus was an essential element in the significant growth simultaneously happening at UH. 18

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Until the doors of our new Hilton Hotel School, the University of Houston Hotel and the UH Continuing Education Center opened for business in March 1974, HRM classes were held mainly in the Heyne Building located across campus. Faculty and staff commuted to UH from their offices at Caroline and McKinney in downtown Houston. If students needed to meet with their professors, they also had to make arrangements to go downtown. In the absence of a brick-and-mortar place to call home and to cultivate collegiality among faculty and staff, Dean Taylor “encouraged” his team to attend Houston Cougar home football games, which were then played at the Astrodome during the heyday years of Coach Bill Yeoman. UH was campaigning for a spot in the Southwest Conference and it was a grand time to be a Coog fan. Oftentimes the group would wind up partying and watching the game with Dean Taylor from the University skybox. Our students also found a temporary hangout spot – a small room in the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building where all HRM majors could gather – thanks »


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to the efforts of our first student organization, the Hotel and Restaurant Management Society (HRMS). When our own student lounge opened in the West Wing, students immediately gravitated to it and HRMS began hosting weekly coffees. Of course, Dean Taylor was in the thick of it, proudly fraternizing with his students, faculty and associate dean who now had a place to call home. The official opening and dedication of our facility was in May 1975. Houston Mayor Louie Welch was the keynote speaker during a special ceremony and reception held in the Constellation Ballroom (now the Shamrock Ballroom). Like the West Wing, the ballroom overlooked Lynn Eusan Park. It was the picture-perfect setting for the dedication, which was well attended by the who’s who of Texas hospitality, University and city officials, and friends and supporters of the School. Though our early graduates didn’t have the same sense of community that defines us today, they had the distinct privilege of being a part of Hilton College’s infancy and reveled in watching it grow alongside our founding dean. They were energized by his vision and understood that he wasn’t just laying the actual groundwork for them, but for the scores of future students who would follow in their footsteps. The new Hilton School, indeed, was a transformative place. Now, there was a place to house the stories to be told and the memories to be shared – the stage was set for all that was to come.


FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS of Founding Dean James Taylor (1969 – 1981), there have been six deans who have contributed to the College’s storied history. Each leader, supported by dedicated board members, associate deans, faculty and staff, has built upon the successes of the previous administration to bring this College to the forefront of hospitality education. Here is a snapshot of their accomplishments, which have shaped the Hilton College of today.

OUR LEA DEAN

JOSEPH J. CIOCH (1987 – 1991)

DEAN

GERALD W. LATTIN (1982 – 1986) When Dean Lattin began his tenure, he had already retired from a 30-year career at Cornell and had served as founding dean of the hotel school at FIU. He was as well-known as anyone in hospitality education and his reputation alone opened doors. His amendment to Dean Taylor’s original grant proposal of $18.5 million secured what was ultimately a $21.3 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to build the South Wing and enhance endowment and operating support. This funding forever cemented the College’s future. His facilities planning committee also greatly influenced the design and the components of what would be included in the new 94,000-square-foot facility’s addition. Dean Lattin used his contacts at two-year colleges in the Northeast to broaden our program’s national reach and expanded his recruitment efforts beyond Texas and around the world. Under his watch, enrollment and the size of our faculty doubled. He also hired the College’s first archivist to establish the Hilton College Archives, which today is still the only such resource at any hospitality school in the world.

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During Dean Cioch’s tenure, the South Wing, which included the student-run Barron’s Restaurant, the food sensory and microbiology labs, and the student instructional kitchen, was completed. His relationship with the Hilton Foundation led to the renovation of the hotel’s Galaxy Restaurant (renamed Eric’s), which provided additional experiential learning opportunities for our students. Aside from being a great student mentor, he leveraged his industry connections to establish scholarships that he used to recruit students from across the United States. Through the Central American Peace Scholarship Program, he brought in cohorts of students from Guatemala, which expanded the College’s international reach. Dean Cioch also worked with his faculty to begin offering graduate-level coursework toward a Master’s in Hospitality Management.

R. HUGH WALKER (1992) Dr. Walker was recently retired as the dean of UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and is the only physicist to have ever served as dean of a hospitality school. A friend and trusted advisor to both President James Pickering and Provost Glen Aumann, he was asked to provide leadership during a transition period at the College. At that time, there was a faction at the University pushing for the merger of our program into the business school. Dean Walker advocated that Hilton College remain autonomous because it was a “strategic asset of the University of Houston.” Though his tenure was brief, his influence was vital to reaffirming UH’s commitment to the College.


Dean Bowen’s vision for a 21st-century hospitality program helped take the College to the next step in its evolution. During his impressive 12-year tenure, he created a variety of global partnerships, enhanced experiential learning opportunities, and secured the first endowments created by

DERSHIP Most notably, in 1996, Dean Stutts negotiated the Hilton franchise agreement for what was then the University Hotel. This allowed our students access to Hilton’s cadre of programs and increased the exposure of our hotel – and College – through the Hilton brand. The same year, he brought

DEAN

JOHN T. BOWEN (2003 – 2015)

DEAN

ALAN T. STUTTS (1993 – 2001)

additional recognition to the College with the establishment of the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor, which celebrates outstanding leaders for their contributions to the industry. The partnership he developed with the American Hotel & Lodging Association brought its Information Center to the College in 2002. Dean Stutts was the first dean to hold the Barron Hilton Distinguished Chair. He also named faculty to fill the newly endowed Conrad N. Hilton Distinguished Chair and the Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair, all of which were funded by the Hilton Foundation.

alumni. He recruited top candidates from doctoral programs throughout the country to build a diverse faculty while fostering a research culture that has garnered international recognition. Under Dean Bowen’s leadership, our Beverage Management minor, bachelor’s program in San Antonio, tripartite master’s degree in Global Hospitality Business, and Ph.D. program in Hospitality Administration were developed and approved. To market these programs, enhance recruitment efforts and increase brand awareness globally, he established the College’s first communications department in support of our mission. He was also at the helm during transformational upgrades to our facilities that included the major hotel renovation in 2009, renovations to the beverage production lab and Alumni Hall, and the addition of our student-run Cougar Grounds coffee shop, as well as the Spec’s Beverage & Food Appreciation Laboratory.

DEAN

DENNIS REYNOLDS (2015 – PRESENT)

Since Dean Reynolds joined the College, he has secured funding and set into motion a series of game-changing facilities’ improvements that are in various stages of planning and execution. This includes renovations to the West Wing, which was recently reclaimed to centralize the Offices of Recruitment, Academic Services and Career Development; a build-out in the South Wing for a brewpub with an adjacent fermentation lab; and a much-anticipated hotel expansion that is on track to be completed by 2023. Right off the bat, he conducted an extensive external review that resulted in a comprehensive strategic plan through 2022. Components of this plan – including reorganizing the Hilton University of Houston to optimize operations and reduce costs, renovating and upgrading our student instructional kitchen with the latest equipment and technology, and launching the online Executive Master of Hospitality Management program – have already been realized. Alumni attendance at events in Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City has also increased dramatically under this plan. And under his leadership, the College adopted a new curriculum effective fall 2019 that prepares graduates for even more opportunities to stand out in the diverse hospitality marketplace.

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5 OUR FACULTY IS HOSPITALITY Because ours is a business of hospitality service to others, those who teach this business of hospitality service to the next generation of industry leaders are a different sort of breed. Our faculty members embody the spirit of hospitality. It’s part of their DNA – it’s who they are. Service to others is one of the reasons they became teachers in the first place, and it’s their commitment to service that motivates and inspires them right out of the gate. It’s why they get along. 24

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Together, our faculty has created a culture of collaboration and service that is pretty much unheard of in academia. They genuinely like each other and act like family. Others outside the College see it and feel it, too. It’s a spirit of collegiality that is simply undeniable. And it’s this dedication to service that fuels their desire to give back to their students, the industry and to each other. Collectively, our professors and lecturers bring 424 years of teaching experience to their classrooms. They are dynamic and engaging teachers who have touched the lives of their students in countless ways. All are Certified Hospitality


Educators and remain committed to teaching excellence. Together, they work to pursue meaningful research that benefits the industry. But they don’t just “talk the talk,” they’ve walked it. Beyond academics, our faculty has 459 years of industry experience between them in every sector of hospitality. As evidenced time and time again in our classes and labs, it’s their industry successes, combined with book smarts and proven teaching experience that sets them apart and gives them the bona fides to impart meaningful and practical knowledge to our students and alumni. They expand the walls of their classrooms by leading experiential learning trips to hospitality destinations across the nation, serve as faculty advisors to our student organizations, participate in our student-run events, and share their influence and industry contacts on behalf of their students. They don’t hesitate to pick up the phone to help a student secure a job or internship and readily act as sounding boards when career advice is needed.

Those who serve on professional paper and dissertation committees are equally committed, spending untold hours conferring and collaborating with their graduate and doctoral students. They are proud to don regalia in celebration of their newest graduates’ commencements and keep up with their former students’ careers long after graduation day. These kinds of things just aren’t common among faculty at other colleges. But then, there is nothing common about the faculty at Hilton College. Above all, they are devoted to student success and are passionate about hospitality. Their involvement in industry-related research and professional organizations create unlimited exposure for the College and unparalleled opportunity for our students. They are one of the top reasons why we lead the world in hospitality education today.

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AN UNPARALLELED SENSE OF COMMUNITY YOU FEEL IT

the moment you pass through our doors. You see it in Cougar Grounds as students and faculty gather for that first cup of morning Joe. No matter where you come from, you’ll find a warmth and inclusivity in our corner of the UH campus that makes everyone feel welcome. This is what makes us uniquely Hilton College – from day one, you belong. With some 1,000 undergraduates and 100 graduate students from every corner of the world, our student body mirrors the cultural fabric of the global hospitality industry. Here, you are part of a family of kindred spirits in the midst of all the excitement and resources of a major urban university. Our collective passion for hospitality connects us, and the welcoming arms of our community provides the ideal environment to learn, grow and make lifelong friends.

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he synergy of our stellar staff is the power source that has fueled the operations and success of Hilton College since its earliest days. Like a well-oiled machine, each member is vital to the inner workings of the College and helps to keep it running efficiently year in and year out. Many on our staff work behind the scenes – often anonymous, even invisible, to our students and visitors. Others have direct and daily interaction with our No. 1 customers. They provide our students with encouragement and guidance for everything from completing the college application process and individualizing degree plans to helping them navigate opportunities for employment. Those who witness the journeys of our students firsthand are continuously recharged with the annual cycle of fresh faces, spirited conversations and the youthful exuberance that infuses their days and invigorates their work. No matter what position they hold, our staff benefits from seeing the “end product” of their efforts and knows that they’ve played at least some part in the experience of every student who walks through our doors. Some 60 strong, they work in Administrative Support, Business Operations, Career Development, Communications, Cougar Grounds, Development & Alumni Engagement, Facilities, Graduate Programs, Hotel Operations, Information Support and AV, International Programs, Recruitment & Enrollment, and Undergraduate Academic Services. Their personalities, professional backgrounds and skill sets could not be more different. And yet, when the individual contributions from each department are interwoven, the resulting “web” seamlessly strengthens the College as a whole. Our staff understands that this teamwork matters.

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Empowered to make decisions and to take ownership of their individual responsibilities, our staff flourishes from the trust placed in them by our leadership. When you ask them what they love and appreciate about their jobs, their words may differ but the sentiment is the same – working here is like being with family.

STAFF SYNERGY FUELS OUR SUCCESS

Framed in a culture of open communication and mutual respect, fast friendships are formed across departments. They have each other’s backs. They bring each other lunch when one is too busy to leave their desk, help each other tackle workloads and treat one another to coffee. Some of our more senior staffers even embrace the role of work parents or spouses, providing unconditional support, honest feedback when needed, and genuine praise for a job well done. It’s this special synergy, when our staff does their jobs well and each department functions at its highest level, that elevates Hilton College at home and around the world.

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STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS, OPENING DOORS SINCE 1970

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rom their earliest days, student organizations have been the ticket for entrance into the professional world of industry associations, where passions are discovered, connections are made and careers are often launched. It all began in 1970 with the Hotel and Restaurant Management Society (HRMS), an umbrella organization for all hospitality students. Back in the day, even Gourmet Night – the College’s signature student-run event – was managed by HRMS.

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At one point, HRMS was the largest recognized student organization of any kind at UH. Eventually, it became a catalyst for a variety of more specialized clubs. As the College evolved and students began to choose career paths in more than just hotels and restaurants, our student orgs also began to reflect that diversity and HRMS dissolved, becoming a footnote in the College archives. In 1976, the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) took root amid a thriving club industry in Houston and such luminaries as Robert Southwell, W. R. “Red” Steger and Joan Brecunier became mentors to our students. The student chapter of CMAA is still going strong today. Dr. Clinton L. Rappole created Par Excellence in 1982 to take advantage of the countless opportunities in Houston to provide upscale food and beverage service. Par Ex endured as a prestigious student honors staffing agency for 36 years.

In the early 1980s, organizations emphasizing the College’s growing cultural diversity, such as the Association for Blacks in Hospitality, burst onto the scene. The spirit of these groups is preserved today in the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality-Cougar Chapter. Through professional networking, community service projects and fundraising initiatives that generate scholarship dollars for student participation in national and international conferences and tradeshows, our student organizations continue to reinvent themselves to keep pace with the changing trends of the industry. Currently, our students are involved in more than a dozen organizations, each with its own character, connections and contributions to the culture of the College. Among them are the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, the National Association for Catering and Events, the Texas Restaurant Association, the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston, the Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Society, and the Conrad N. Hilton College Ambassadors.

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WE EMBRACE THE WORLD Walk into any one of our classrooms and you’ll quickly discover why Hilton College is the most diverse hospitality program in the world. Our tight-knit student body represents more than 54 countries, reflecting the cultural diversity of our industry. The range of work, educational and life experiences – especially among our graduate students – is also something that you just won’t find in any other hospitality program. It’s this rich, vibrant mosaic of nationalities, ethnicities, races, genders and religions that makes being a student here so inviting. Whether you are from Paris, Texas or Paris, France; Dublin, Ireland or Dublin, Kentucky, our classrooms are an unrivaled celebration of cultures, where everyone’s voice and point of view is heard, valued and respected. Today, Hilton College is a microcosm of the world – a big beautiful melting pot of diverse peoples, promise and potential where there is no one group with a majority, only a plurality. This dynamic didn’t just happen overnight. To lead a global industry, you have to appreciate the importance of different cultures and world perspectives. Perhaps no one understood this better than Dean Gerald Lattin, who was the first to focus his energies on making Hilton College a destination for international students who want to study hospitality management in the United States. While other deans have expanded upon his efforts, it is largely due to Dean Lattin’s commitment to open our doors to the world that we have been able to extend our reach and continue to attract students far and wide. At Hilton College, we embrace diversity and welcome the world. This is what hospitality is all about!

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GOURMET NIGHT – THE PRODUCTION OF A LIFETIME


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t’s the moment of truth for another Gourmet Night team at Hilton College. Guests, all dressed to the nines, are beginning to arrive for the cocktail reception and silent auction. In the back of the house, it’s organized chaos as student managers continue to put out small logistical fires and scurry to put the finishing touches on this major event they’ve been planning all year. In the banquet kitchen, it’s the calm before the storm. Course captains and kitchen volunteers, who have been prepping all week, are stacking plates and chugging down Gatorade. Orders for guests with special diets are being double and triple checked. A spontaneous pep rally erupts… students and chefs are psyched to take their places in the prep and plating assembly lines. Only five courses for 360 guests in under three hours – no pressure! Course captains bark final instructions… the steady rhythm of clanging dishes marks time as the nervous energy and anticipation builds and the orchestrated dance of moving from one course to the next is about to begin. The tempo will get faster and the kitchen will get hotter as the night wears on… The clock is ticking – 24 minutes to go before the end of the welcoming remarks in the adjacent grand ballroom and sending out the first course…

“regulars,” many of whom have been faithfully attending Gourmet Night since they were students, are always the first to get the bidding going… Ten more minutes before the call to dinner!

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Frenzied managers – who have been running on pure adrenalin and troubleshooting everything from botched vendor orders and broken kitchen equipment to no-show volunteers and pretty much everything in between for the last 48 hours – rush to freshen up and change out their flats and sneakers for heels and dress shoes… The static of walkie-talkies follows them from point to point as they check in with each area of their operation… Expectations are high and no one wants to disappoint.

Told by their advisors to “be in the moment,” the realization that this is really happening starts to sink in. After hundreds of hours spent pouring over every facet of this event… endless decisions and deadlines… emotional highs and lows and drama

Meanwhile, the event managers and their key volunteers scan the grand ballroom for any missed details. Wine glasses and silver have been polished, tables set, centerpieces, event programs and table numbers placed. The food & beverage managers do another dry run to assure service assignments. Mic check… testing one, two, three… the lights are turned down, the music is cued… volunteer servers for the food and wine service teams wait patiently in the wings.

among peers… blood, sweat and tears… anxiety,

Several hundred yards away in a second ballroom, the repeated refrain of “It’s so great to see you! … You look amazing!” can be heard above the din of laughter and spirited conversation that fills every corner of the crowded room. Guests whet their appetites with savory hors d’oeuvres, sip on Prosecco and signature cocktails, and peruse items that have been garnered and packaged by the silent auction managers and their advisors. The

This is our signature student-run event… For the last 46 years, the ultimate stage that is Gourmet Night has showcased our students’ creativity and management skills in the culinary arts, event planning, beverage and foodservice. Though the internal structure of this storied event has evolved over the years, one thing remains constant. And that’s the passion of our students, who are at the very heart of what makes Gourmet Night so remarkable. »

exhaustion and gallons of coffee… They. Are. Ready. The doors of the grand ballroom are pulled open… the kitchen is signaled to “GO, GO, GO!!” Dinner is about to be served and act two of another Gourmet Night production has begun…

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A LITTLE HISTORY After nearly five decades and thousands of students who have given their all to Gourmet Night, this Hilton College mainstay is deeply ingrained in our culture and collective memory. But the first iteration of our most enduring experiential learning tradition has its roots in a series of themed dinners that were managed by the Hotel and Restaurant Management Society (HRMS) and held each semester at various locations throughout the city. HRMS planned and hosted a dinner they called the First of a Thousand Nights in spring 1970, which was held at the ROTC barracks on campus. It was followed by the Second of a Thousand Nights at Tony Vallone’s restaurant, then the Third, and so on, up until the Sixth and final night in spring 1973. Students went door to door selling tickets to industry partners for $5. It was then that a young professor named Clinton L. Rappole, who served as the faculty advisor to HRMS, recommended to Founding Dean Jim Taylor that the dinners become an annual event, with the first semester dedicated to planning and the second to execution. HRMS President Greg Edwards (’75) coined the revamped event “Gourmet Night” and Dr. Rappole became the event's first faculty advisor. In April 1974, some 120 guests attended the College’s first Gourmet Night. Because our new facility had only opened a month earlier, the dinner was held in the Emerald Ballroom of the iconic Shamrock Hilton Hotel – the very room where our namesake presented his founding gift. Admittance was only $10 and Dean Taylor purchased some of the tickets to give to friends in the industry.

The following year, Gourmet Night moved to its permanent home at Hilton College. Themed “An April Evening in Paris,” students transformed the ballroom into a café along the Champs-Élysées, complete with Impressionist paintings, street performers and, of course, fine French food and wine. Waiters and waitresses – as they were called then – dressed in tuxedos and long, black formal dresses. Tickets were $15, and 180 people attended. The late Bob “Rabbi” Raulston (’75) was the general manager for the first dinner at the Shamrock, as well as the second held for the first time at the College. He is the only student to ever serve twice as GM. When the South Wing opened in March 1989, Patty Shadowens Godfrey (’89) was the first general manager whose team produced the event in the spacious new Conrad Hilton Grand Ballroom – complete with an adjacent kitchen. Their theme celebrated the College’s 20th anniversary. In addition to rolling in a giant cake for the student volunteers, all 300 guests were served individually sized anniversary cakes each with a single burning candle. As Gourmet Night lore has it, service was so precise that each candle remained lit until guests could blow them out in unison. And that is the magic of Gourmet Night! Impeccable attention to detail and pride in execution. So profound was Godfrey’s leadership experience that she’s only missed two Gourmet Nights since graduating 30 years


ago. She’s also remained a generous supporter of the event as a table sponsor and active bidder in the silent auction. Godfrey is hardly alone in her affinity for this treasured tradition. And that, too, is part of the allure of Gourmet Night. It’s become a kind of springtime reunion for our former student managers, as well as our industry partners and friends, who return year after year to support the current team and the College.

TAPPING LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL In spring 2001, a two semester-long class called Gourmet Night Management was offered for course credit. Until then all positions, including GM, were voluntary. For nearly two decades now, the Gourmet Night management team has worked with a dedicated faculty advisor and an executive committee to plan and execute a themed multi-course dinner with wine pairings, as well its companion cocktail reception and silent auction. These student managers also direct and train an event, service, beverage and kitchen team of some 300 volunteers. Students interested in producing Gourmet Night for the subsequent year interview and vie for positions in everything from events and marketing, silent auction, logistics and human resources to kitchen and food & beverage service. And then there’s the most coveted job of general manager. Those selected are chosen as much for their leadership potential as they are for their skills. Positions are evaluated every year to mirror those in the industry and to give students the most realistic situational experiences as possible. Still today, synchronized service and the parade of volunteers signaling the end of the evening remain the hallmarks of Gourmet Night. Because the College’s focus is on honing management skills – not culinary training – guest chefs have been a longstanding tradition as well. How often they are called upon to support our students is dependent on the culinary strengths of the current team. The executive chef of our Hilton hotel has also become an essential »


ingredient in the Gourmet Night kitchen and is available year-round to consult with students on menu planning and recipe development, regardless of whether a guest chef is joining the team. Industry continues to back this dinner as well. Besides sponsoring tables, our industry partners give our student managers tremendous discounts and contribute readily to our silent auction. NACE (National Association for Catering and Events) members have been particularly generous. Recruiters attending the dinner have also hired our students on the spot after seeing them in action. No doubt about it, these partnerships continue to help us improve the quality of this event, while proceeds from tickets – today at $275 each – and the silent auction benefit student programs and scholarships.

A LASTING IMPRESSION Those who have lived it know that, at times, Gourmet Night can be all-consuming. Students on the management team that start together in August are never the same when they finish in April. This event changes them and helps them find their professional voice. It’s a shared experience that bonds students – and their faculty – for the rest of their lives. As former GMs can attest after standing center stage and introducing their teams to the applause of an entire ballroom, the intense feeling of pure pride and joy is beyond overwhelming. This experience is a defining moment in their college careers – though they often don’t fully realize just how much they’ve learned until they can step back and take it all in. When our signature student-run event rolls around again next spring, new student leaders will proudly take their moment in the spotlight. And Gourmet Night alumni, who have returned as guests, will sit back… have a glass of wine… look around the ballroom and take satisfaction in the fact that they, too, were part of this rich learning opportunity that is only possible at Hilton College.


1974 – A N AMERICAN

THE PAST 46 GOURMET NIGHT THEMES

EXTRAVAGANZA

1975 – AN APRIL EVENING IN PARIS 1976 – SIX FLAGS, CELEBRATION ‘76 1977 – A MATTER OF TIME 1978 – TTTOI APPERQCKURI GYRAK: APRIL FOOL’S TO YOU!

1979 – NEW ORLEANS CELEBRATION: DANS LE FUTUR

1980 – A TRIBUTE TO ITALIAN CUISINE: IL SUCCESSO E SEMPRE NOSTROS

1981 – THE TOAST OF THE TOWN 1982 – AN EVENING OF ELEGANCE 1983 – COLONIAL CANDLELIGHT 1984 – PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ 1985 – FANTAZIA 1986 – 150 YEARS OF TEXAS 1987 – HATS OFF TO HILTON 1988 – SAN FRANCISCO: CITY BY THE BAY 1989 – A TOAST TO THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY CONRAD N. HILTON COLLEGE

1990 – THE SPIRIT OF NEW ORLEANS 1991 – ORIENT EXPRESS 1992 – UNA NOCHE LATINA 1993 – CELEBRATING GREAT TRADITIONS 1994 – AN EVENING OF CARNIVALS 1995 – NIGHT OF FOOLS 1996 – AN EVENING OF ELEGANCE 1997 – A TRIBUTE TO TONY VALLONE, RESTAURATEUR TO THE RICH AND FAMOUS

1998 – FINE DINING, EXTRAORDINARY WINE AND A SALUTE TO FRED PARKS

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1999 – A MOMENT IN TIME 2000 – 20TH CENTURY HOSPITALITY 2001 – MURDER, MYSTERY AND MAYHEM 2002 – LE SOUIRE 2003 – DREAMS OF A FOREST AND OTHER SUCH THINGS 2004 – SYNESTHESIA 2005 – FIRE AND ICE 2006 – CRESCENDO 2007 – ALICE IN WONDERLAND 2008 – A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM 2009 – CIRQUE DU GOURMET 2010 – A TOAST TO THE HILTON COLLEGE: BUILDING ON 40 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE 2011 – GOURMET-OPOLY 2012 – 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF TITANIC’S MAIDEN VOYAGE 2013 – THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME (OZ) 2014 – AMERICA’S MAIN STREET: THE HIGHWAY TO GOURMET 2015 – GLORIUMPTIOUS GOURMET: AN EVENING WITH THE CHOCOLATIER 2016 – JOCKEYS & JULEPS: THE RACE TO THE WINNER’S CIRCLE 2017 – A NIGHT OF JAZZ AND GIN: RAISE YOUR GLASS AND LET A NEW ERA BEGIN! 2018 – ARABIAN NIGHTS: A JOURNEY TO THE SULTAN’S PALACE 2019 – CHEERS TO 50 YEARS: IT ALL STARTED WITH A DREAM…


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Barron

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THE ADDITION OF OUR SOUTH WING – A GROUNDBREAKING MODEL FOR HOSPITALITY EDUCATION

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ou know it’s a big day when the chairman and president of Hilton Hotels Corporation and the president of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation fly in from Beverly Hills, California to attend your party!

On March 16, 1987, Barron Hilton and Donald H. Hubbs, respectively, were among the distinguished guests who spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony held to celebrate what would soon become the College’s new South Wing addition. Interim Dean Clinton L. Rappole presided over the festivities and retired Dean James Taylor was also on hand to witness this momentous occasion.

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Preceding the groundbreaking, four years earlier, the Hilton Foundation had awarded the College a $21.3 million grant to expand its facilities and enhance endowment and operating support. Not since our founding has a single gift been more pivotal to the growth of Hilton College. Dr. Gerald W. Lattin, who served as dean from 1982 to 1986, played a significant role in the planning and design of this much-needed new addition. His facilities planning committee, chaired by Dr. Rappole, was also instrumental in the strategic planning that determined what components would be included in the new wing. At the top of the committee’s must-have list of amenities? A banquet kitchen on the same floor as the hotel’s public spaces. Strange as it may sound today, there was no dedicated kitchen in the hotel to support banquet service. In order to serve guests, hotel staff and students would have to transport food from a freight elevator outside the kitchen of the Galaxy Dining Room (now Eric’s Restaurant) on the first floor of the hotel to a small holding kitchen on the second floor. The Galaxy kitchen was large enough to also accommodate banquet cooking, but it posed a significant challenge to providing excellent service.

Next on their list was adequate space for our food laboratories. At the time, the College was leasing lab space from the University’s Home Economics department. The committee’s planning culminated in the creation of a state-of-the-art student instructional kitchen, food demo kitchen, food science lab, food research lab with taste-test panels for product testing, as well as Barron’s Restaurant – the next step in our foods curriculum. Construction was completed under Dean Joe Cioch’s tenure. When the 94,000-square-foot South Wing opened in March 1989, it also housed two large lecture halls, computer labs, a library and archives, additional faculty offices, a 6,700-square-foot ballroom, six guest suites with small kitchens, and even a Faculty Club. This new wing, in conjunction with our teaching hotel, gave us the most modern facility in the United States and took experiential learning at Hilton College to the next level. It was the epitome of what was possible in hospitality education and showcased the necessity of having strategic facilities to support the industry. The opening of the College and hotel in 1974 put us on the map, but it was our new South Wing 15 years later that would allow us to legitimately lay claim to the title of “world leader in hospitality education.”

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OUR HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY ARCHIVES, TELLING THE STORIES OF THE INDUSTRY WHILE PRESERVING ITS PAST

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In 1983, Steve Hilton called Dr. Clinton Rappole to discuss the logistics of shipping 17 tall, four-drawer file cabinets full of his grandfather’s corporate papers from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation headquarters in Beverly Hills to Hilton College in Houston. At the time, there were plans to establish the College’s Hospitality Industry Archives in the new South Wing, but it would be another six years before the addition was even built. In the meantime, what to do with these priceless “time capsules” packed with untold archival treasures? As a stopgap measure, Dr. Rappole consulted with Bill Spitz, the owner of Big State Pest Control and a frequent guest lecturer in his classes on pest control management in the hospitality industry. They decided to store the files on the lower level of the hotel’s parking garage until they could find a more suitable arrangement. Spitz agreed that the documents could be kept there short-term as long as they were protected from pests. So, he tented the cabinets in one corner and fumigated the space. A temporary storage space was later found on the second floor of the North Wing – a most humble beginning for what has since become the world’s largest and only archive dedicated exclusively to the hospitality industry! In 1989, those 68 drawers of documents gifted by the Hilton Foundation 36 years ago found a permanent home in the College’s library and climate-controlled Hospitality Industry Archives, which was funded through a grant from the Hilton Foundation. The space was renovated in 2010, and the Archives reopened in the new Massad Family Library Research Center. Today, those original papers remain meticulously preserved and cataloged in some 3,300 linear feet of shelf space, and the collection has grown to become the College’s largest and most accessed archival resource. The Conrad N. Hilton collection encompasses photos, books and a variety of other items from the hotel magnate dating back to the 1880s through the 1970s. Hilton’s trademark Stetson hat and custom-made carrying case are considered by many to be among its crown jewels. The documents and artifacts of Conrad’s sons, Barron and Eric Hilton, are housed here as well. Generous shelf space is devoted to the history of Hilton Hotels and the evolution of the Hilton brand – from its modest beginnings in the early 20th century to becoming an international household name. This collection continues to grow. Over the years, the Archives has also procured a wide range of diverse papers, historical documents, oral histories, photographs, advertisements, menus, films, reports, books and various miscellaneous memorabilia from other leading

hospitality companies. Some of the current major collections include papers and memorabilia from restaurateur Norman Brinker, Marriott International, Howard Johnson, Westin Hotels, Best Western International and the American Hotel & Lodging Association. These collections – and new ones steadily acquired – remain relevant today and continue to attract the attention of scholars, educators, industry professionals and media outlets from around the world. For the last decade, historian and archivist Dr. Mark Young (pictured) has fielded calls from reporters at major publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and has worked with historians, authors and scholars who have come to rely on our Archives to provide historical details for their books, articles and projects on any number of hospitality related subjects. Even Hollywood has come calling. Producers for the Ron Howard film “Rush” and the Steven Spielberg movie “Bridge of Spies” have also turned to the College’s Archives as part of their period research to replicate the distinct look and feel of hotel lobbies, hotel rooms and restaurants for their set designs. Dr. Young has even consulted with the producers of the Emmywinning television show “Mad Men,” set in the 1960s, to help lend authenticity to their script when they introduced a new character to the show. That character? Conrad Hilton – or “Connie” – as he introduced himself to leading man Don Draper. Roughly 50 percent of the questions Dr. Young researches are for scholarly endeavors, while the other half leans toward pop culture. Menu prices and cuisine from different decades are ever popular and, recently, there’s been a resurgence in the interest of Trader Vic’s Polynesian-themed restaurants and bars, a cultural phenomenon in the 1950s to ‘70s. The Archives is used for more practical matters as well. For instance, to help a client on a tenant rent-control problem, a private investigator recently contacted Dr. Young about the going rate of a hotel room in New York City in 1969. The dozens of boxes stacked in the storage room of the Archives isn’t just “old stuff” waiting to be preserved, cataloged or digitized. They are pieces of the past that tell a story about an aspect of the industry that is worth remembering. When unexpected boxes arrive, Dr. Young is like a kid at Christmas, eager to see what’s inside. Recently he opened a box from Hilton’s corporate office that spanned 40 years of the company’s history – everything from branded swizzle sticks and matches to keychains and playing cards. No other hospitality program anywhere in the entire world houses an archive of any kind, let alone the largest of its kind. The Massad Family Library Research Center and Hospitality Industry Archives is a point of pride that distinguishes Hilton College like no other, and you don’t have to be a history nerd to get excited about that!

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THINGS YOU’LL FIND IN OUR HOSPITALITY ARCHIVES

• Image of The Plaza New York taken from Central Park soon after the hotel opened in 1907 • The menu from Prince Philip’s visit to Maxim’s Restaurant • Elizabeth Taylor and Nick Hilton’s wedding album from 1950 • B  atman comic strip from 1967 that ran in Sunday newspapers depicting Conrad Hilton giving the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder a personal tour of a Batman Hilton • Thank you note from Prince Philip to Camille Berman of Maxim’s Restaurant • M  enus from the 1850s and 1860s • H  oward Johnson’s waitress uniform designed by Christian Dior • L ife-size statues of Johnny Holiday (Holiday Inn) and Ronald McDonald • S carf worn by Elvis at his show at the Las Vegas Hilton

The adding machine from Norman Brinker’s first restaurant

Conrad Hilton’s WWI dog tags

Best Western bar of soap from the 1960s

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A gift to Conrad Hilton from Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco from when he attended their wedding in 1956

  plate from A The Plaza’s Persian Room in New York City – Hilton bought The Plaza in 1943 and sold it in 1953

A rare bottle of Vodka DARNOC – Hilton’s own in-house vodka from the 1970s – that when read backwards spells Conrad

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Stock certificates from the founding of Western Hotels, now known as Westin Hotels

• A  dobe bricks from the Hilton Mercantile that Conrad Hilton’s father operated in New Mexico from the 1880s • B  arron Hilton’s San Diego Chargers game day footballs from 1963, 1971 and 1978 – he was the original team owner • A first bottle of 8th Wonder Distillery vodka • A  rtifacts from JFK’s inaugural ball – Barron Hilton was in charge of the entertainment • K  eymatic Rolodex address book from the 1950s • H  otel uniforms Early credit and travel cards

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Howard Johnson’s Cola in a steel can, used in the 1960s and 1970s


Hotel room keys through the decades

Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders bobble head

Ideas for the Lunar Hilton Hotel on the moon

Cable section from the Golden Gate Bridge, given as a gift at a Hilton general managers meeting

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EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING – THE WORLD IS OUR CLASSROOM Each year in May, as the sun warms the vines of Sonoma and Napa Valley and the grapes begin to peek out of their buds, a group of 12-14 students and their instructors head to the West Coast for a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process that the average visitor can only dream of. Through our California Wine Experience, they tour a variety of wineries to learn about the viticulture and enology from the winemakers and owners themselves – feeling the earth beneath their feet in the manicured vineyards, touching the cool hulking steel of the fermentation tanks, and smelling the sweet musk of the barrel rooms along the way. And of course, they get to taste! In December, students taking the Casino Resort Management class do more than just marvel at the dizzying bright lights of the Vegas Strip. They step behind the glitz and glamour of major casino resorts for what is unprecedented access and an unvarnished glimpse of the back-of-house operations, including surveillance monitoring rooms. They also tour the high-roller suites and meet with executives and managers from each department to gain a better understanding of what makes these properties tick. These interactions allow students to ask questions and to see for themselves the kinds of risks and rewards that are inherent to the lucrative gaming industry. It doesn’t get more authentic than this! Because no book or lecture can even begin to approach this kind of immersive hands-on learning experience, both of these classes have been staples of Hilton College’s experiential

learning offerings for decades. When students can actually see it, feel it, taste it and experience it firsthand, that’s when the real learning sinks in. Oftentimes, they don’t even realize how much they are learning because they are having so much fun.

From the everyday to the extraordinary, we want our students to experience it all. We know that by opening the doors of our classrooms to the world, our students gain the competitive advantage they need to lead. For some, our classrooms can also be a castle in Italy, a test kitchen in Mexico City or an agave field in Guadalajara. It is the floor of the annual trade shows at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago and the HX: Hotel Experience show in New York City. It is the Young Hoteliers Summit at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, and a spring break road trip to explore destination barbecue joints and wineries in the Texas Hill Country. Closer to home, it’s brewing beer and pairing wines in our beverage labs, creating a dish in our student instructional kitchen, producing and managing a College event, and interning at the front desk of our Hilton University of Houston. These are our classrooms. And new opportunities are forever unfolding. It’s these kinds of experiences that set Hilton College students apart and make employers take notice. Experiential learning is the cornerstone of our program – both inside and outside our traditional classrooms. And that hasn’t changed in 50 years!

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THE CHANGING FACE OF THE HILTON UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON


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nyone who was a student, faculty or staff member, hotel guest or conference attendee from 1974 to 2009 will remember our hotel’s spiral staircase in the center of the lobby. In the hotels’ first promotional brochure produced in 1975, it was described as “the graceful winding staircase.” And it was. People were drawn to it. From student groups and proud graduates in cap and gown to blushing brides and their wedding parties, countless photographs were taken on that most recognizable of staircases.

the largest and, some would argue, one of the most important aspects of higher education. Long before online classes became the trend, the CEC was projected to attract more than 25,000 non-traditional students annually to campus. With 27 conference rooms and two ballrooms, our “residential conference center” was one of the largest and best-equipped facilities in the nation and was perfectly poised to welcome these students.

But what’s also interesting as we wax nostalgic during this milestone anniversary, is that our hotel (and College) was marketed under the umbrella of the Center for Continuing Education (CEC), a fully integrated $7.5 million facility that first opened for business in March 1974. Back then, the CEC and hotel names were used interchangeably. UH pamphlets even referred to this collective as a “community in miniature.”

In its earliest iteration, our hotel was called the University of Houston Hotel. Described in sales literature as “brilliantly decorated,” it opened with 80 deluxe guest rooms and each had outside views and color TVs specially equipped for in-house, closed-circuit telecasts and outside reception. There was also a 100-seat dining room with a spacious kitchen, complete food and banquet services, central air conditioning, wall-to-wall carpeting, a guest library and reading room, a laundry area, courtyard, audio-visual department, support services, administrative and faculty offices, and student lounges. One of the hotel amenities people were most excited about and are still today? Convenient and reasonably priced underground parking with 400 spots!

A possible reason for the University’s emphasis on the CEC may have been that 45 years ago, adult education was on the threshold of becoming

OUR MODERN UNIVERSITY HOTEL

In a nod to Houston’s moniker of “Space City,” public meeting rooms, classrooms and ballrooms were named for heavenly bodies. On the first floor, many will remember the Galaxy Dining Room (now Eric’s Restaurant). The large tiered classroom (180) was called the Solar Room, and across the hall were three more classrooms – Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. Adjacent to the Cosmos Courtyard in the West Wing, students took classes in the Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars, Pluto and Mercury Rooms. Little did anyone know that Pluto would one day lose its planetary status. At the top of the spiral staircase on the second floor, the colorful Zodiac Room (now the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom) had aptly named perimeter walls called Pisces, Aquarius, Cancer and Leo. Other meeting rooms named Taurus, Aries, Gemini, Virgo, Libra, Sagittarius, Capricornus and Scorpius completed the Zodiac Constellation. The largest ballroom, known as the Constellation Room (now the Shamrock Ballroom), could seat 700 for a conference. Its breakoff rooms were, of course, called Orion and Hercules. Though records and memories can’t confirm this, it is believed that these celestial room names were changed during the mid-1980s to recognize famous Hilton properties after the Hilton Foundation donated funds to build the South Wing. In 1982, Provost George Magner directed the dean of Continuing Education to move his staff and services into the West Wing. This little-known mandate was a momentous and defining occasion for our program – it forever physically separated the CEC from the hotel and College’s offices and classrooms, which would now be


guest towers. It was not a simple undertaking, but his time and effort were well spent. In 2004, after nearly three decades of no discernible signage, our hotel now displayed the only red logo in Hilton’s portfolio. Also under Dean Bowen’s watch, during the College’s 40th anniversary year in 2009, construction commenced on a $12.5 million renovation project to transform our teaching hotel and create an improved hands-on experiential learning environment that would generate more leadership opportunities for our students. It was the first major renovation to the Hilton University of Houston Hotel and Conference Center since it opened in 1974.

entirely housed in the east end of the North Wing. Provost Magner may best be remembered as the UH administrator who, in 1989, discontinued the practice of housing a live cougar on campus. But his decision to split the CEC from the hotel and College and give newly appointed Dean Gerry Lattin full authority for the management of the hotel, restaurant and parking garage, as well as the College, was an equally far-reaching action that literally turned the page in our history. The big gold lettering on the front of the hotel that spelled “Center for Continuing Education” was removed, and Dean Lattin had the honor of removing the first letters. In 1990, under Dean Joe Cioch, the Galaxy Restaurant was completely remodeled and renamed “Eric’s Restaurant,” in honor of Eric Hilton, who remained involved with the College from day one. Hilton was on hand to cut the ribbon, which officially opened the new restaurant. Unlike the Galaxy, Eric’s was outfitted with a complete bar. When the hotel first opened, it was dry. No alcohol by the drink could be served because of Texas blue laws. Banquet staff could serve liquor at functions outside of the restaurant, but guests had to buy a drink ticket. For at least two years, banquets sold liquor tickets for lunch and dinner events.

NOW A HILTON FRANCHISE In 1996, the University of Houston Hotel became a Hilton franchise. One of the first things Dr. John Bowen did when he became dean in 2003 was to install a big red “Hilton” and a UH logo high on the hotel

From the driveway, porte-cochère and courtyard to the lobby, guestrooms, public spaces, meeting rooms and ballrooms, every detail of our 35-year-old hotel was reimagined by Houston-based and nationally recognized Portfolio Associates. The intent was to transform what looked like a typical campus building into an upscale, distinctive Hilton boutique hotel that just happened to be part of a university setting. Though the iconic spiral stairwell was demolished to make way for a reconfigured lobby that now provides an intimate gathering space for guests, the tradition continues as students and visitors alike take pictures on the contemporary new staircase. It, too, makes a statement. Where once central air and color TVs with outside reception were the favorite amenities, the hotel’s latest renovation furnished each guest room with the Hilton Serenity Collection, a 49-inch flat-screen TV and complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access. And, of course, hotel guests could also take advantage of the University’s nearby state-of-the art Recreation and Wellness Center.

A FRESH LOOK FOR A NEW HILTON When the renovation was completed in April 2010, it opened with its third name – Hilton University of Houston. In 2017, our Hilton franchise agreement was renewed, which is good for another decade. When the spring 2019 semester began in January, the hotel debuted another fresh new look – premium plush carpeting with pops of Cougar Red in all ballrooms, meeting rooms, select public spaces and guest room corridors. As required every seven years as part of Hilton’s brand standards, the hotel’s “soft-goods” renovation also included new wall vinyl, drapes and bedspreads. Eric’s Restaurant also received a wallcovering and flooring makeover. But this recent refresh is not where the story of our Hilton hotel ends. Like the transformational renovation that was announced during our 40th anniversary, Dean Dennis Reynolds recently disclosed news of a major hotel expansion. Learn more on page 137.

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15 THE LEGACY OF BARRON’S RESTAURANT Students who took the original foods capstone course have described the experience as akin to being locked inside a pressure cooker, going into battle and running the gauntlet. The class, which mimicked every aspect of running a real-world commercial food & beverage operation, allowed thousands of students over the years to commiserate and bond over their shared trials and tribulations of what has long been the centerpiece of the Hilton College undergraduate experience. Those who went through this crucible were transformed – becoming stronger, more confident and equipped with invaluable skills that can only be learned through an immersive hands-on experience.

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In its earliest incarnation, the class – dubbed “Foods II” by students – was geared toward student-produced thematic dining events in the old Galaxy Dining Room (now Eric’s Restaurant). On one occasion, students transformed the Galaxy into the Emerald City of Oz, complete with a yellowbrick road and menu items named after the characters of Oz. When the South Wing opened on March 1, 1989, the class was moved to its new lab in Barron’s Restaurant, which was named in honor of Conrad N. Hilton’s son. In the fall of 1989, the International Dinner Series was born. Initially, the dinner series featured food from a different country every weeknight. This included wine pairings, décor, service style and, oftentimes, entertainment representative of the designated country. It was literally like opening a new restaurant every night! The scope was later scaled down to focus on just one country each week, but still involved executing distinct dining experiences every night. Students were charged with planning the menus, testing the recipes and marketing the day’s international cuisine – a challenge in and of itself. They also had to manage the restaurant, produce and serve the food, wash dishes and prep for the next day. Grades were based on marketing the event and measured through the number of covers on each night. And, since they were running a business, they were also expected to turn a profit. The International Dinner Series tested the resolve of upperclassmen for 17 years. In 2006, the capstone class was changed to a lunch-only concept designed to replicate the real world “lunch crunch.” Students continued to choose and test recipes, but it was a set menu every semester. At its peak, as many as 100 meals from burritos and burgers were served every weekday during the 90-minute lab. Like the dinner series, the lunch operation taught inventory control, ordering food and tracking sales, food-cost analysis, preparation and set-up, and even the human resource aspects of having to manage their peers. With the advent of social media, students taking this course also engaged in marketing campaigns to promote their menus.

These Barron’s experiences provided authentic opportunities for students to learn firsthand the reality of what it would be like to someday own or manage their own restaurants. In the process, they developed some serious skills and laid the foundation for their careers. For those who lived and breathed it, these Barron’s classes were both exhausting and exhilarating. But after “surviving” the class together, graduates also came to appreciate how difficult – and rewarding – the restaurant business can be. Along the way, they forged friendships, discovered the importance of self-reliance and collaboration, and made memories to last a lifetime.

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16

OUR GRADUATE PROGRAM – MASTERING HOSPITALITY

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veryone wants to be No. 1, and there is a big difference between just wanting it and doing what it takes to get there. In 1986, plans were underway to build upon the momentum of Barron Hilton’s rallying cry to students, faculty and staff to become the “No. 1 hotel and restaurant management program in the world.” To claim the leader title, Hilton College next needed to progress from undergraduate education into offering advanced graduate degrees.

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The need to establish a Master’s in Hospitality Management (MHM) was evident. Hospitality management as an educational discipline had matured since the College first began conferring bachelor’s degrees in the early 1970s. As hospitality was becoming more and more specialized, there was a growing demand for graduate-level coursework among our alumni – and others working in hospitality – who wanted to go back to school to advance their careers. Our competition was already starting to fill this gap in hospitality management education with their own master’s degrees aimed at the same audience. Establishing a new degree program is never easy. To secure approval from the University and the state, you first have to show justification. The first step in this process is to reach a consensus among the College faculty before presenting the plan to the University. Once you have the green light at the university level, the proposal goes before the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board for the final stamp of approval. Dr. Ted Waskey led this daunting charge, with invaluable assistance from then Associate Dean John Bowen, Drs. Clinton Rappole and Doug Keister. When Dr. Waskey presented the College’s MHM degree proposal to the University committee, UH had a different vision of our program. There just wasn’t enough support at the university level to move forward. Nonetheless, to become the best, we could not


MASTER OF SCIENCE IN HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT

A two-year residence (on campus) program

J OINT MASTER OF SCIENCE/MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION A three-year program offered in partnership with UH’s Bauer College of Business

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN GLOBAL HOSPITALITY BUSINESS take “no” for an answer. A master’s gives a program credibility and lends the prestige that is critical to attracting and competing for outstanding faculty who, in turn, attract outstanding students. This program would also lay the groundwork toward offering a doctoral degree. It would take three more years before the UH committee finally gave Dr. Waskey the nod to proceed. Assistant Provost Shirley Ezell personally hand delivered the proposal to Austin to share with the state coordinating board for final approval. In 1989, Professor Ted Waskey became the first director of our newly created Graduate Program, under the tenure of Dean Joe Cioch. This victory could not have been sweeter or, in some sense, more timely. Combined with the opening of our South Wing that same year, our new Graduate Program helped to raise the reputation of Hilton College tenfold, and enabled us to attract – and keep attracting – quality tenure-track faculty with specific research interests. Annually, some 100 graduate students from around the world – all with diverse reasons for wanting to pursue a focused area of graduate studies – are enrolled in our Graduate Program, which has been under the direction of Associate Dean Ki-Joon Back since 2006. Our Master of Hospitality Management was replaced with a Master of Science in Hospitality Management in 2004 to better integrate both the theoretical and practical aspects of the industry. Today, newly minted

A first-of-its-kind, three-semester program offered in partnership with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

E XECUTIVE MASTER OF HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT A one-year online program designed to accommodate the schedules of working industry professionals

PH.D. IN HOSPITALITY ADMINISTRATION Provides the theoretical, practical, research, grantsmanship and critical-thinking foundations for careers in academia and hospitality administration

graduates and seasoned professionals alike are drawn to one of our five degree programs. For undergraduates wanting to earn both their BS and MS degrees, a five-year accelerated track is also available. Each of these degrees is tailored to support an industry that is constantly evolving in its service models and advances in such areas as hospitality technology, artificial intelligence, robotics and big data analytics. The industry demands well-trained leaders. Our graduate degrees, and the courses themselves, continue to keep pace to support the changing face of hospitality. Professor Waskey – and the Hiltons – would be very pleased!

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17 BIG CITY, BIG UNIVERSITY, BIG HEART


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ouston is a BIG city with a BIG personality and a BIG heart. It’s a bustling, vibrant, welcoming international city where people with different dreams, talents, cultures, passions and perspectives come together to build community and to launch and establish careers. It’s a city where BIG ideas are born. It’s a city that inspires. And if you work in hospitality, it’s a city that offers an industry advantage second to none. So when the right people, in the right place, come together at the right time, BIG things can happen! Our founding dean, Dr. Jim Taylor, had a BIG personality. Our benefactor, Conrad Hilton, was a titan of the industry. Texas was the place where Hilton bought his first hotel. The University of Houston was where Dr. Taylor began his academic career. Whether it was serendipity or destiny that brought the two together, they were the right people at the right time. Their shared dreams and opportunity to build the first hospitality school in Texas was realized due, in no small part, to their decision to locate the Hilton School in just the right place – in Houston on the UH campus. Location matters! We are situated in the nation’s fourth-largest city at a major urban research university that is the second-most ethnically diverse campus in the United States. This one-two punch has helped to make Hilton College the world-class program it is today. With industry partnerships 50 years in the making, a diverse faculty capitalizing on those relationships to pursue relevant industry research, and a wealth of internships and jobs in every conceivable sector of hospitality, the sky’s the limit for our students, faculty and alumni. The city, the campus, the industry and our College have grown exponentially over the last five decades. Today, hospitality is BIGGER than ever in this booming city that was destined to be THE place for hospitality education. When our founders chose Houston and the University of Houston to build our school, they also chose all the promise and influence inherent in both. Hilton College is inextricably linked to our city and our university. Each has become synonymous with hospitality and excellence in hospitality education. And today, with our ideal location that has also shaped our program, we ARE hospitality!

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WHEN ACADEMIA MEETS INDUSTRY

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ilton College is inextricably linked with the hospitality industry, supplying its best talent, supporting its operations with leading-edge research, archiving its greatest achievements and fueling its engines of innovation. In return, the industry is infusing our community with immense and varied resources, jobs and internships for our graduates, scholarship and endowment support, as well as other essential funding at pivotal moments throughout our history. This symbiotic relationship is unmatched by any other hospitality program anywhere in the world. It’s been this way since Founding Dean Jim Taylor leveraged his connections to forge partnerships with the Club Managers Association of America, and state and local hotel and restaurant associations – among others. This conduit between academia and industry, and research and real-world applications remains a win-win for hospitality and the College. And, it’s these steadfast bonds and affiliations that are also one of the top reasons why students and faculty alike continue to choose Hilton College.

PARTNERS IN APPLIED RESEARCH The types of research our faculty are conducting on behalf of and in tandem with industry runs the gamut. Take, for example, food science – an area most people don’t consider when they think about hospitality. Our food microbiologist, Dr. Sujata Sirsat, has been awarded more than $1 million in competitive grants from the USDA, the Texas Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration to improve food safety practices in retail, restaurant, small farms and farmers’ markets. She’s also working with StateFoodSafety to provide training materials to restaurants and grocery stores. One of Dr. Tiffany Legendre’s research streams is edible insect sustainability; Dr. John Bowen


and Associate Dean Ki-Joon Back are working with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center to improve patient care satisfaction; Dr. JéAnna Abbott’s research through her work with UH’s Bauer College of Business in big data and people analytics is helping to promote women in leadership; Professor Stephen Barth is working with Fortune 500 companies on travel-risk mitigation techniques for their mobile employees; the beneficiaries of Dr. Jason Draper’s research are destination marketing and management organizations, meeting planners, and convention and visitor bureaus; and recently Dr. Carl A. Boger Jr. completed his work with the Johnson Space Center to revamp a customer-service tool designed to improve collaboration between NASA and the scientists who are sending experiments up to the International Space Station.

Our friends from Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits and E. & J. Gallo Winery have used their contacts at vineyards and wineries throughout Napa and Sonoma Valley to both fund and arrange exclusive tours and tastings for our annual California Wine Experience class trip. Our spring break road trip to look at winemaking in Texas is underwritten by the International Wine & Food Society-Houston with support from RNDC. In Guadalajara, Mexico, we partnered with Patrón Spirits International, Casa Herradura and Jose Cuervo to give our students a behind-the-scenes look at tequila production in a new class offering called Spirits of Mexico. And as part of the Banfi Scholastic Tour, one student and one professor travel to Italy to study food, wine and culture, courtesy of the Banfi Vintners Foundation.

One of the College’s longest association partnerships is with the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Since 2013, HFTP has been sponsoring the applied research of Drs. Agnes DeFranco, Cristian Morosan, Minwoo Lee and Instructional Assistant Professor Arlene Ramirez in the areas of mobile technologies in clubs and hotels, technology usage in hotels, technology spending, pre-opening expenses and payroll analysis. HFTP also partially funds national conference expenses for members of the University of Houston HFTP-Cougar Chapter, and has established a number of endowed scholarships as well as a new endowed teaching fellowship.

Trinchero Family Estates, the second largest family-owned winery in the United States, hosts eight to 10 of our students each January as part of its collegiate Vine to Dine program. In addition to room and board and an intensive three-day workshop on Napa Valley wine, Trinchero sponsors the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) certification exams for the workshop attendees – an out-of-pocket expense that would otherwise cost students $700. Representatives later fly to Houston to give a fullday seminar to help students prepare for the exam, which needs to be taken within a year.

Hilton College is the only hospitality program in the world with named doctoral teaching fellowships funded through industry endowments. Our new teaching fellowships are funded by HFTP and the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, with another yet to be finalized. These endowed fellowships will support three of our Ph.D. students starting fall 2019. Two out of the last three years, our faculty has been the recipient of $15,000 in awards from the Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management Foundation – one of our newer association relationships. Drs. Legendre and Nathan Jarvis used the funds to investigate perceptions of “ugly produce” and its impact on food waste, and Dr. Sirsat and her team will develop an online food safety training toolkit as an add-on to the state’s food handler training program. The aim of the toolkit is to help low-literacy foodservice workers increase their knowledge and understanding of safe food handling practices and pass the state’s certification exam. These examples barely scratch the surface of all that our faculty is doing in their areas of expertise to help strengthen the industry.

ENHANCING THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE Since 1994, more than 300 industry leaders from across the nation have served as guest lecturers for the Dean’s Leadership Series to share their expertise and experiences with our students.

This is the kind of generosity that has allowed us to maintain our position as the leader in hospitality education. Our industry is the perfect partner, the yin to our yang, the hip to our hop, the peanut butter to our jelly, and the cream to our coffee. Through the efforts of the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, our lodging students “Converge on the Capitol” at a biennial event in Austin where their voices are heard – along with industry professionals – regarding the issues affecting the tourism industry. Our industry friends serve as academic business project partners for our global master’s students, host alumni mixers in cities across the nation, sit on advisory boards, donate to our silent auctions, discount their products and services for our classes and student-run events, and host our students and high school summer campers at their properties and businesses. They honor our students with an Outstanding Lodging Student Award at their annual Hospitality on Parade Gala and then give the proceeds of their event to benefit student scholarships. They also raise money to benefit the College through annual golf tournaments and wine and food festivals, and create endowments to fund leadership experiences. For this and more, we say a heartfelt “THANK YOU!”

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PHILANTHROPY IS HAPPENING NOW, BRINGING ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES!


OVER THE PAST 50 YEARS, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has gifted the College in excess of $85 million. This includes $21.3 million in 1983 to build the South Wing, as well as millions to fund endowed chairs and scholarships, matching gifts, programs and operations support. That’s philanthropy at its finest. That’s benevolence at its best.

LARGEST PRIVATE ENDOWMENTS

While the Hilton Foundation’s generosity has been paramount to the College’s continued growth and success, we are grateful that our industry partners from every sector, as well as alumni and friends, continue to contribute to our philanthropic story.

Bill and Becky Bliss Endowed Scholarship Valued at more than $400,000

During the past year alone, 383 donors have given to Hilton College for the benefit of our students. We estimate that some 13,000 donors have helped advance our mission since 1969. These donors have provided an additional $65.5 million in gifts. All told, our benefactors have created 156 endowments now valued at nearly $42 million.

Southwell, Steger & Brecunier Scholarship Endowment Valued at more than $500,000

MAJOR GIFTS OF $500,000 OR MORE

Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair Scholarship Endowment Valued at nearly $600,000

AMERICAN HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION AND THE AMERICAN HOTEL & LODGING EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION – nearly $1.5 million in support of the AH&LA Information Center

AMERICAN LIBERTY HOSPITALITY AND NICK MASSAD (’73) – nearly $2 million to fund the Massad Family Library Research Center and Hospitality Industry Archives, and for the support of scholarship and research endowments and Eric’s Club initiatives DOUG (’75) AND HOLLY BROOKS AND THE HOLLY & DOUG BROOKS FAMILY FOUNDATION – more than $1.8 million to fund the Eric’s Club Center for Student Success, and to support scholarship endowments and Eric’s Club initiatives ERIC’S CLUB (COLLECTIVELY) – more than $9 million in individual gifts and funding to support scholarship endowments and renovations to Alumni Hall and the new Eric’s Club Center for Students Success HILTON, INC. – more than $3 million to support scholarship endowments, including the Hospitality Beyond Borders Endowment

HOSPITALITY FINANCIAL AND TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS – more than $1.4 million for endowed scholarships and operations support of the HFTP Research Center MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL AND THE J. WILLARD AND ALICE S. MARRIOTT FOUNDATION – more than $2.4 million to fund the Marriott Center for Excellence in San Antonio and to support scholarship endowments DOROTHY NICHOLSON (’77) – more than $500,000 in support of the Clinton L. Rappole Distinguished Chair, endowments and Eric’s Club initiatives

FRED PARKS AND FRED AND MABEL R. PARKS FOUNDATION – $3.1 million, which includes Parks’ remarkable wine collection that became the basis for our Fred Parks Wine Cellar, and ongoing support of facilities and the Fred Parks Lecture Series

GREGG (’86) AND ANNA ROCKETT – more than $1.1 million in funding for international study-abroad programs, a named scholarship endowment and support of Eric’s Club initiatives

SPEC’S CHARITABLE FOUNDATION – more than $1.3 million to fund the Spec’s Wine & Beverage Appreciation Laboratory, academic support, plus an annual golf tournament that benefits the College

ENDOWED CHAIRS, PROFESSORSHIPS & FELLOW Conrad N. Hilton Distinguished Chair Est. in 1983 by the Hilton Foundation Barron Hilton Distinguished Chair Est. in 1983 by the Hilton Foundation Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair Est. in 1991 by the Hilton Foundation Donald H. Hubbs Professorship Est. in 2001 by the Hilton Foundation Spec’s Charitable Foundation College Professorship Est. in 2004 Clinton L. Rappole Distinguished Chair Est. in 2005 by Dorothy Nicholson (’77) Curtis Carlson Endowed Fellow Est. in 2006

SPECTRUM CATERING, CONCESSIONS & EVENTS AND DAVE (’79) AND MELANIE SMALLEY – more than $500,000 to fund the Spectrum Student Leadership Program and to support scholarships and Eric’s Club initiatives H I L T O N

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FROM BULLETIN BOARD TO ONLINE PLATFORM – LAUNCHING CAREERS morning to each Monday ce offi r he by ith employer also went d compiled w sumés. They ha ré e sh at th test calendar stance with pick up the la ts needed assi en ud st portunities. M ly R H on hen o, their d interview op ag an s ts ar ye en ev 30 ches rsity of ’s center, Dr. their job sear was the Unive director of UH e ce iv ur ut so ec re ex s e y rtment after Mar om th on-campu Center – and College’s depa h direction fr e it es th ic W n rv io Se sh r fa ee st Career began to Cioch Houston Car are for her fir id Small, she for Dean Joe ep av ng pr D ki To or . w el le ate and a en mod Douglas. Whi a letter templ ayes, Douglas versity’s prov H n ni U ve id e gi av th D as n w ea D Career Douglas and Associate quietly tuck of Dr. Butler’s bruary 1989, en Fe ve th ti in d or ir an pp Fa ur su ho that had been ory of hotels ring her lunch minous direct t of companies d résumés du lu lis ea vo fr a oo h k. pr ug or ld ro w wou tract. After ged th back to e wanted to at s. She also pa lders and go sh ir s fo Fa er in oy ay pl aw em awaited rget office them of letters and drop by their staurants to ta y ds re el re d in nd an ut hu ro d ts le ce rade of studen each, she mai participated in r dynamic offi watched a pa personalizing 37 companies r, vice from thei te ad es m er se re As the deans st ca ch d ea an . That fir nnected with mé assistance the response w well she co ho . to ask for résu ed by d se a se d es te plan were impr Career Fair. not, she had manager, they ce and realized it or an id as gl letters of gu ou er D re er ca th pus for tionships, send m la ca re n itially, ss of them. Whe ild ro ow bu r ac g to ou up interest. In ntinued ents goin sily start co um ea ud e dr st as r Sh to st ou ju lls e d ca er Why w when we coul the College? and make cold Fair were fast opportunities introduction ted at Career me directly to en co es s to pr on es re ni as es employment Se pa ni ed mpa nam y com e Four any of the co vite hospitalit like Hyatt, th 1989, she was m in ls In d . te an d on ho pi or er er W nt rg am s. ce d la club their ch restaurants an partment. ng in country de gi od ey had found in fo es th , ic br rv d as gl te Se e t ar ou th st t D In Then she st Placemen out how grea e College’s fir and Fairmont. the industry ab ut ho y ug director of th riences lt ro cu th fa positive expe to spread 81 as the t d 19 ha te e w ar nc d st si an e ed y wer utler had serv ers were happ ilton College areer Fair at , Dr. Richard B time, employ students at H held a small C no e H In . is r. re te Th he Up until then en ir. ’t C r Fa ices e having nies just weren spot at Caree e Career Serv recruiters wer nd that, compa lling her for a e yo ca liaison with th er e w be abled er t at w en bu th d d s ry an an on invited d positi g event ery Februa te be lin la ev to dg re ge yfle le it e ol al th C it e to ce th . Any hosp a big boost to y companies ge via interoffi students here support was y of hospitalit d to the Colle et ri de ar va interviewing role rw er y ow fo id ke e w kn a a er er ayed would reer center w Douglas to off faculty also pl that students ur so O ds ir. ar sent to the ca fa e bo ou th n ti sts, ontane s nding ed to job bulle lletin board po orting her sp students atte pp bu e su es as th l el mail and pinn to em w tion s, as ace th iewing . Now, in addi panies and pl ce new interv giving her lead n m in co ou n ng an ri hi to s who was hiring , s sent by classroom d each folder ld gather faxe visits to their utinely checke ro r Douglas wou en ei th th ts nd en s. to se folders. Stud opportunitie they wanted in individual decide where to s ge pa e h th culling throug

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For the next several years, Douglas cultivated Spring Career Fair and worked with student volunteers and leaders from student organizations to assist her with the planning and execution of the event. She also developed a number of career workshops designed to build the confidence and skills students needed to display when talking to potential employers. Then, with the full support of Dean Alan Stutts, she added a second Career Fair in October 1996 to meet the needs of December graduates. Fall Career Fair continues to be an October tradition at Hilton College, along with the February Spring Career Fair for our May graduates.

ENTERING THE DIGITAL AGE The advent of a website-based job board was the dawn of a new era for our Placement office. An integral part of the College’s new website that was launched in November 2010, this new job site featured online forms that allowed employers to post their own positions, list job descriptions, salaries, preferred contacts and links to their company websites. Much of what Douglas did manually for 20 years was now being facilitated by this digital system. Students could also use this website to find jobs – ending the “paper era” and bidding adieu to the time-honored job bulletin board at Hilton College. This life-changing technology was wholly embraced by Douglas, who could now spend more time counseling her students and fostering relationships with her recruiters until her retirement in March 2012. Our website board was employed by Placement Services until the College switched over to a

comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) software platform called Hire Hilton College in December 2014. With information now provided to students and employers in real time, one could argue that this platform was an even bigger game changer in the department’s ability to promote available positions than our first web-based system. It also provides transparency in the application process, allowing employers to receive immediate feedback regarding any missing information that might be keeping students from applying for a particular position. Hire Hilton College enables employers to easily post their own jobs, register for Career Fair and schedule interviews. And with just one click, students can apply for any position once they have completed their profiles and uploaded their resumes to the site. They can also sign up for interviews and see which employers are attending Career Fair, as well as link their LinkedIn profiles to the ones they create in Hire Hilton College. Unless a student opts out, employers can be given access to their profiles, then browse the site’s resume book and proactively contact potential candidates when they see a good fit. The interview scheduling feature of this CRM platform alone pays »


for itself in terms of thousands of saved man hours. The grateful beneficiaries of this technology have been department director Colleen Gleeson and career counselor and internship coordinator Gloria Ratliff. Under the office banner of “Career Development,” they have led the charge to assist our students in their quest to find career-launching positions in the digital age of online job platforms, Listserv email blasts and social media.

clubs continue to have a strong presence, but the entire spectrum of industry employers are represented as well. Other industries are beginning to take notice of our graduates, and a variety of new companies are invited every semester – from revenue management and commercial real estate to funeral service providers, hospitals and senior living communities. Students are also having a bigger say in what other kinds of employers they want to see in attendance.

CAREER FAIR, WORKSHOPS AND COACHING

Mini Career Fairs, Employer Spotlights and company information sessions give students a chance to meet employers in a less structured environment. These smaller recruiting events – along with informal events like our Spring Pre-Career Fair Mixer and Industry Think Tanks – expose our students to professional conversations in a casual setting and allow them to network, practice the skills they have developed and build confidence before the main event.

Today, an average of 400 to 500 students – from freshmen to graduate students – attend Career Fair. To give both students and recruiters a mutually beneficial experience, the number of companies that participate is capped at 70. Hotels, restaurants and

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Student volunteers have always been key to producing Career Fair and today, that assistance comes in the form of a Career Fair Management class. Introduced in fall 2017, the three-credit course assigns each student a management position that allows them to plan Career Fair as a team from start to finish. Each student manager has a hand in logistics, marketing, vendor relations and operations. The trend in career services today is more about developing skill sets, and building networks and communities so that when students are looking for that next job, they know they can rely on themselves. To that end, throughout the year Gleeson and Ratliff host résumé writing and speed interviewing workshops, conduct mock interviews, and facilitate career exploration activities and job shadowing experiences for students who are unsure of their career paths. They even present an annual fashion show to demonstrate what should and shouldn’t be worn to interviews. Students are also provided with the Career Planner Checklist developed by Gleeson, which serves as a roadmap for the steps they need to take from freshman year to graduation to be successful in landing their dream job. Still, it’s the career counseling and coaching that remain the touchstone of the department.

Through individual appointments, the duo helps manage their students’ expectations about the reality of what their careers are going to look like right after graduation. They also coach them in how to negotiate salary and benefits packages, walk them through the pros and cons of each job when they receive multiple offers, translate the wording of offer letters, and discuss everything from the importance of first impressions to how to follow up with employers they’ve met. For students who are about to graduate and have changed their career focus, Gleeson and Ratliff have been right there to assist as well. Because no two work or life situations are ever the same, there is no cookie-cutter solution handed down to all. The pair genuinely love working with “their kids” and experiencing the highs and lows of their individual journeys – just like the founding director of this department. This, in essence, is why we are still offering career services some 30 years later. Our students are going places and our Career Development team is here to support them through every twist and turn along the way!

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INTERNSHIPS AND LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES – ADDING RAZZLE TO THE DAZZLE

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mployers have always looked for the “WOW” factor when reviewing résumés. And nothing distinguishes an applicant from the competition more than an internship, especially an international one that adds just the right amount of razzledazzle needed to catch a recruiter’s eye.

Senior James Marasigan, who recently completed a four-month food & beverage internship with Seabourn Cruise Line, certainly took this truth to heart – meeting people from around the globe, experiencing diverse cultures and filling up his passport along the way! Starting in Athens, Greece, his journey aboard two ships took him to ports of call and various cities in Europe and throughout the Mediterranean, Middle East and Southeast Asia before finally debarking in Sydney, Australia. Experiences like Marasigan’s aren’t typical, but they don’t have to be uncommon. Our faculty and industry friends have always used their connections to broker opportunities that provide students with enriching internship experiences here and overseas that simply can’t be realized from part-time jobs. Yet, it wasn’t that long ago that internships abroad tended


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to be more for select students who had the time and resources to take advantage of them. Many international opportunities required at least a six-month commitment, plus the expense of travel and housing made it a nonstarter for many. All of this has changed in recent years, as more and more scholarships are being funded and as interest grows from international employers who want to work with Hilton College.

When our students shine, companies keep calling. Today, Internship Coordinator Gloria Ratliff in our Career Development office continues to foster the collaborative culture that Finehout created where students are actively involved in their own research to explore what they want to do and where they want to do it. Students also understand that internships don’t have to be “glamorous” or halfway around the world to be career makers.

Though we’ve always had an informal internship program, these efforts were crystallized in January 2006 when Dean John Bowen hired Jason Finehout (MHM ’06) to focus on developing more opportunities as the College’s first full-time internship coordinator. As a new graduate of our master’s program, Finehout had an insider’s view of what students and companies were looking for in an internship experience. He made it his mission to talk to students about their dream internships and then vigorously pursued both geographical and experiential opportunities on their behalf.

CREATING EXPERIENCES

Finehout quickly proved to be a bona-fide “dream maker” by doggedly Googling the galaxy in pursuit of landing seemingly impossible internships for his students. One click at a time, he opened up an entire universe of place and possibility that wasn’t being explored. Take Ferrari Wong (’08), for example. Wong wanted to be a part of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. By working with Finehout, he secured a six-month internship with the Beijing Hilton.

The catalyst for this leadership program was Dave Smalley (’79), founder and CEO of Spectrum Catering, Concessions & Events. Smalley hires our graduates and provides internships at Spectrum’s golf and music venues throughout North America. To give back, he gifted $500,000 to create the Dave Smalley/Spectrum Catering Student Leadership Experience Endowment in 2012. Other donors have since been inspired to either contribute directly to Smalley’s endowment or fund their own scholarships and endowments under the umbrella of the College’s Student Leadership Program.

Stacey Kosar Konkel (’08) dreamed of experiencing the beauty of New Zealand. Finehout helped her land a three-month summer internship at the breathtaking Treetops Lodge and Estate. He also placed students in rotational internships in such places as the historic Waldorf Astoria in New York City, the famed Caesars Palace in Vegas, and The Ahwahnee Hotel, a premier lodge in Yosemite National Park. Closer to home, Jake Lewis (’08) wanted to learn how to be a food writer and gain some experience writing cookbooks. So, Finehout contacted Robb Walsh – one of the premier cookbook writers in Texas – and arranged Lewis’ dream internship, where he participated in recipe tastings and assisted Walsh in writing his latest cookbook. Finehout’s most miraculous moment came when Britton Douglass (’10) told him he wanted to learn about scotch at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. As a part-time bartender, he wanted to truly appreciate the nuances of whiskey at the site Whisky Magazine named “Hotel Bar of the Year” in 2007. The iconic hotel had never hired an American bartender, let alone a student intern. Because of his remarkable bartending résumé, Hilton College’s worldwide reputation and Finehout’s chutzpah, Douglass was offered a six-month internship in May 2007, becoming the first American bartender (and student) in the hotel’s storied history. By the end of his internship, Douglass knew the complexities of all 166 bottles of scotch behind the Gleneagles bar and was offered a management position upon graduation.

To help create more niche and big-picture opportunities, Ratliff is continually reaching out to employers, alumni, faculty and others to help students broaden their horizons in near and faraway places. For students who can’t take advantage of these types of experiences because they are going to classes and working full time to pay their tuition and rent, our Student Leadership Program levels the playing field and makes these kinds of experiences accessible to everyone.

Most recently, the Smalley Leadership Endowment provided scholarships to help cover expenses for five summer internships in Hawaii and sponsored several more to attend the Americas Lodging Investment Summit Conference in Los Angeles. For the past three years, the endowment has also allowed two students annually to travel to Switzerland to represent Hilton College as delegates to the Young Hoteliers Summit held each spring at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. This rare global leadership experience connects students from 40 hospitality schools around the globe with the world’s most influential hospitality companies for three days of lectures, workshops, team challenges and networking events. To quote past delegates, this opportunity is “mind blowing.” To help students add more muscle to their résumés, a 300-hour internship is required as part of the College’s new curriculum, which took effect in fall 2019. Including these internship hours, students will clock 1,000 hours of work experience instead of 600. The more diverse the work experience, the more impressive their résumés and the better prepared they will be to qualify and compete for leadership positions after graduation. And that’s exactly the kind of razzle-dazzle that will set them apart!

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22GRADUATE FOUNDING SCHOOL OF THE MOST COMPETITIVE

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n 1996, graduate students and hospitality professors from around the country convened at Hilton College to discuss their research topics in the industry. That initial gathering evolved into the three-day Annual Graduate Education & Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality & Tourism.

The goal of the conference, the brainchild of our former director of Graduate Programs Dr. Kaye Chon, was to create a collaborative and supportive environment where graduate students could present their research. Today, it is recognized as the most competitive hospitality research forum for graduate students in the world. It also has become the platform for exchanging cutting-edge research and networking for positions in academia. The event is held here every January in odd-numbered years, giving Hilton College tremendous international exposure. In even-numbered years, sponsoring universities bid to host the conference. Some

350 to 400 doctoral

and master’s students as well as faculty from around the globe attend and compete for Best 72

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Paper awards. Over the last 24 years, our students and


CONFERENCE IN THE WORLD

faculty have taken home more than their fair share of the honors, and 2019 was no exception. We won two of the four Best Paper awards! In recent years, two of our faculty have also been recognized with the conference’s prestigious Founder’s Award, established in 2005 in honor of Dr. Chon, founding chairman and today the dean of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Each year, this award recognizes one world-class scholar in hospitality and tourism for his significant contributions to the academic community in research, scholarship, and the development of graduate programs and students. Professor and former dean John Bowen earned the award in 2007 and Dean Dennis Reynolds took home the coveted honor in 2018. Also in 2018, the esteemed Michael D. Olsen Research Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Ki-Joon Back, associate dean for Research & Graduate Studies. This honor is also given annually to the one scholar who has demonstrated remarkable commitment to high-quality research, graduate education and mentoring.


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GOING GLOBAL – EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD


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n the lobby of our hotel is a quote from Conrad N. Hilton that reads, “World Peace through International Trade and Travel.” Hilton staunchly believed in this philosophy and used his company’s corporate advertising to promote his message. Following his lead, we aim for all students to have the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures through our study abroad programs, global internships or classes at one of our partner universities overseas. Today, as technology and affordable travel connect communities and businesses on a universal scale never before realized, opportunities abound for our students to take advantage of study abroad. Exposure to new markets and diverse cultures opens up hearts and minds to new ideas and global perspectives that can only be imagined through international travel. These collective experiences will ultimately shape our students into global citizens who are better equipped to accommodate their future guests and to manage their employees and companies – wherever their careers may take them on the world stage.

OUR GLOBETROTTING ROOTS One of the first international doors that opened for students at Hilton College was in the late 1970s, when UH foreign language professor Claus Reschke created a 10-hour language immersion and internship program. Students took an accelerated German class during the spring semester learning industry terms, followed by a summer internship working in Germany. So successful was this model that the same program was later offered in France and Spain. In 1993, Greg Van Rozenberg (’92, MHM ’95), an international student from Aruba, laid the foundation for a six-week leadership course in his home country. Professor Stephen Barth taught the class for six summers, and students gained industry experience working at the Holiday Inn-Aruba. Beginning in 1999 and through the next decade, Dr. Clinton Rappole developed a two-week, faculty-led tour to western Japan for students to study Japanese culture. In 2002, under the leadership of Dean John Bowen and International Programs Director Lydia Westbrook, various global partnerships were established with top or emerging colleges and universities that are still going strong today. At the University of Angers, for example, students study international marketing and tourism in France’s Loire Valley. There was also a casino elective, which was led by our gaming guru Jim Wortman. At Hong Kong Polytechnic University, our students gain first-hand knowledge of the booming Asian tourism industry by studying hospitality marketing in one of the world’s greatest cities. Rudy Casparius also played an instrumental role in securing educational partnerships in Mexico. One of the most popular opportunities he orchestrated was a summer class with Centro de Estudios Superiores de San Ángel (CESSA) in Mexico City, where students interested in the

culinary arts could sharpen their skills alongside renowned international chefs in one the world’s finest test kitchens. At Tecnológico de Monterrey, nestled in the “City of Mountains” 10 hours north of Mexico City, our students took classes in food technology and international business, and explored Mexican culture and tourism while traveling around the Yucatan Peninsula. “The Art of Hospitality,” a six-week summer program at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, also offered our graduate students the opportunity to soak in the culture of Switzerland while studying management and marketing. Of course, these reciprocal exchanges also benefit our partner schools, whose students are equally as excited to come to the U.S. and experience our culture and classrooms. When travel isn’t an option, technology brings people together in ways we never imagined when we first started exploring global partnerships back in the ‘70s. One of the most extraordinary classes we’ve ever arranged was offered in spring 2011, when Westbrook co-taught the first-ever joint tourism class with a lecturer at Bethlehem University in the West Bank. The class allowed students from both sides of the world to study and work together in the same virtual classroom via videoconferencing. In the spirit of international tourism, this opportunity to interact face-to-face, bridge cultural differences and learn from each other in this forum, also showed students and their faculty the value of building community.

THE WORLD IS THEIR OYSTER Today, we have direct partnerships in Australia, France, Hong Kong, South Korea and Peru. And recently, we renewed our arrangement with Escuela de Administración de Instituciones (ESDAI) in Mexico. Thanks to the continued efforts of Associate Dean Ki-Joon Back and International Programs Director Jennifer Glickman, new partnerships are always in the works. Through these reciprocal educational exchanges that run from two weeks to a full semester, students can immerse themselves in a new culture, polish their language skills, embark on field trips to chateaus, castles and wineries, and take any number of classes – from gaming, tourism economics and sports management to hospitality marketing and Chinese and Japanese culture. And then there’s the side trips on weekends to explore nearby cities and attractions. In addition to these opportunities, UH Learning Abroad has a number of long-standing exchange programs in place that our students can pursue. From Africa to India, Guatemala to Italy, Turkey to Vietnam and just about every other destination in between, opportunities are here for the taking – especially in Europe. The popular Semester at Sea program is also available through this office. Our study abroad programs expose students to the world at large, opening myriad doors to unexplored career paths. Because when the world is their oyster, all that’s needed is a passport to possibility – and a little guidance from our Office of International Programs!


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HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY HALL OF HONOR – INSPIRING THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW

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he first time Barron Hilton and Bill Marriott ever met was at Hilton College. It was October 1998 and they were both here as honorees for the 3rd Annual Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor, housed at the College. Walt Disney was the third inductee, posthumously, to be honored that year… This is the kind of industry star power that laid the foundation for the world’s only “Hall of Fame” dedicated exclusively to recognizing leadership in hospitality. This is the caliber of the hospitality giants with whom our students have been rubbing elbows with since Hall of Honor’s inception.


ilton

H Barron

rriott

a Bill M

Conceived by Dr. Ronald Nykiel in 1995 to establish a closer link with the industry, this event has brought some of the biggest names in the business to the College. A virtual “Who’s Who” of the industry’s most influential icons, the inaugural class included Conrad N. Hilton, J. Willard Marriott, Vernon Stouffer and Kemmons Wilson. More than 350 industry leaders, friends of the College, students and alumni gathered for a formal reception, dinner and induction ceremony during the first Hall of Honor gala held on September 25, 1996 in the Conrad Hilton Grand Ballroom. Wilson, then 73, attended, while Hilton, Marriott and Stouffer were recognized posthumously, with honors accepted by family or corporate representatives. With all the pomp and circumstance befitting such a tribute, each October for more than a decade, the call of bagpipes and a parade of company flags have heralded the arrival of the newest inductees. Speeches were made, medallions presented and portraits unveiled. Nominees for the following year were selected by the Hall of Honor Board of Overseers – a body comprised of past inductees and representatives from all sectors of the industry. In 2006, the Hall of Honor format was expanded to raise the profile of the event within the industry and to create more interaction between students, industry leaders and faculty.

Through a Hall of Honor Management class created for course credit, a board of student directors plans and produces the traditional event, as well as the longstanding industry luncheon, reunion dinner for past inductees and the newly added VIP reception. For students, that’s when Hall of Honor really comes to life. It’s a rare opportunity to get networking time – and great photos – with the leaders who have founded the kinds of companies where they want to work. Additionally, Industry Think Tanks – including “Meet the Inductee” sessions – were added to Hall of Honor Week, the logistics of which are also managed by student directors. Moderated by our faculty and industry leaders with expert panelists from the various sectors of hospitality, these Think Tank sessions expose students to a variety of topics that allow them to gain insider knowledge and a deeper understanding of the subject from the practitioners themselves. Over the course of a day and a half, students attend sessions that run the gamut from entrepreneurship, revenue H I L T O N

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Dean Dennis Reynolds and inductee Chris Nassetta cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the Hilton Legacy Exhibit in October 2015.

management, sports venue operations and club management to beverage distribution, social media, food trucks, sustainability and Texas craft beer. Though the bagpipes have been replaced with a “quieter” approach to the festivities and the structure of Hall of Honor has changed a few times over the years to better integrate the student experience, its purpose remains resolute: to recognize the champions of hospitality and to inspire the industry’s future leaders. Since the induction of its inaugural class, the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor has welcomed 68 members to its illustrious pantheon. All have left indelible marks in their fields and are stellar role models for our students and for those working in hospitality today. From an educational perspective, one of the most important aspects of Hall of Honor is that it brings together top leaders from the various sectors of the industry, in one place, to have a dialog with our students. There is nothing else like it in hospitality education.

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Eric Hilton

Harris Pappas

Joe McInerney

Chris Pappas

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HALL OF HONOR GALLERY —

THE WHO’S W

alk through the Hall of Honor Gallery at Hilton College, and you’ll pass by the portraits of many of the industry’s most iconic figures. Students, alumni and visitors alike find inspiration in their stories, while others hope to one day see their portraits hanging there, too. That’s the goal of this gallery – to inspire the next generation of hospitality leaders. Located off the main lobby of the Hilton University of Houston, the Hall of Honor Gallery features specially commissioned portraits of each inductee. Personal papers, memorabilia and corporate histories are displayed and archived in the College’s Hospitality Industry Archives to memorialize the inductees’

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achievements – providing a lasting tribute to the companies they conceived and built during their lifetimes.

Here are the honorees who have been inducted into the Hall of Honor since its inception in 1995. All have held titles such as founder, chairman of the board, president and CEO at the time of their induction. Portraits by artist Robert Lapsley; Chris Nassetta and Eric Affeldt by Kenneth R. Turner.


1996

J. WILLARD MARRIOTT MARRIOTT CORPORATION

WHO

VERNON STOUFFER STOUFFER FOODS CORPORATION

KEMMONS WILSON HOLIDAY INNS

1997

CONRAD N. HILTON HILTON HOTELS

CURTIS LEROY CARLSON CARLSON COMPANIES

LORD CHARLES FORTE FORTE PLC

RAYMOND ALBERT KROC McDONALD’S

ELLSWORTH STATLER STATLER HOTELS

OF HOSPITALITY

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1999

1998

BARRON HILTON HILTON HOTELS CORP.

PAUL DUBRULE & GÉRARD PÉLISSON ACCOR GROUP

HOWARD DEARING JOHNSON HOWARD JOHNSON

ISADORE SHARP FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS

PRESTON ROBERT TISCH & LAURENCE A. TISCH LOEWS CORPORATION

J. W. “BILL” MARRIOTT JR. MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL

ROBERT LLOYD CRANDALL AMERICAN AIRLINES

ROBERT HENRY DEDMAN SR. CLUBCORP INC.

COLONEL HARLAND SANDERS KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN

2001

2000

WALTER ELIAS “WALT” DISNEY WALT DISNEY COMPANY

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LYNN & ED HOGAN PLEASANT TRAVEL SERVICE

GABRIEL ESCARRER JULIA SOL MELIÁ


2002

WILLIAM S. NORMAN TRAVEL INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA

MARILYN CARLSON NELSON CARLSON COMPANIES

JENNIE GROSSINGER & ELAINE GROSSINGER ETESS GROSSINGER’S RESORT AND COUNTRY CLUB

SOL KERZNER KERZNER INTERNATIONAL

MIGUEL ALEMÁN VALDÉS MÉXICO COMMISSION FOR NATIONAL TOURISM

TIM AND NINA ZAGAT ZAGAT SURVEY

NORMAN BRINKER BRINKER INTERNATIONAL

JOHN Q. HAMMONS JOHN Q. HAMMONS HOTELS & RESORTS

MICHAEL A. LEVEN U.S. FRANCHISE SYSTEMS

MICHAEL D. ROSE PROMUS COMPANIES INC.

ROY WINEGARDNER HOLIDAY INNS, INC.

2003

2004

ALICE SHEETS MARRIOTT MARRIOTT CORPORATION

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2006

2005

CURTIS C. NELSON CARLSON COMPANIES

ERNEST & JULIO GALLO E. & J. GALLO WINERY

CHRIS T. SULLIVAN OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE, INC.

GARY W. LOVEMAN HARRAH’S ENTERTAINMENT, INC.

HOWARD SCHULTZ STARBUCKS COFFEE COMPANY

SIR ROCCO FORTE THE ROCCO FORTE COLLECTION

STEVE RUSHMORE HVS

JOE R. LEE DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

ERIC M. HILTON HILTON HOTELS CORPORATION

S. TRUETT CATHY CHICK-FIL-A, INC.

2008

2009

2007

STEPHEN F. BOLLENBACH HILTON HOTELS CORPORATION

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M. K. GUERTIN BEST WESTERN HOTELS


2011

2010 DOUG BROOKS (’75) BRINKER INTERNATIONAL

JOSEPH A. McINERNEY AMERICAN HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION

JACK DeBOER CONSOLIDATED HOLDINGS, INC.

MARIANI FAMILY OF BANFI BANFI VINTNERS

RICHARD MELMAN LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU ENTERPRISES

CHEF ALAIN DUCASSE DUCASSE ENTERPRISE

SAM BARSHOP LA QUINTA/BARSHOP & OLES COMPANY

2016

2015

2014

RATAN N. TATA TATA SONS

RANDY & CAROLYN SMITH STR (SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH, INC.)

2013

2012

THE PAPPAS BROTHERS PAPPAS RESTAURANTS, INC.

CHRIS NASSETTA HILTON WORLDWIDE

ERIC AFFELDT CLUBCORP

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OUR MS IN GLOBAL HOSPITALITY BUSINESS – THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME

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hen Hilton College signed a letter of intent to establish a tripartite master’s degree in Global Hospitality Business, the doors of the world opened wide to give our students the experiences of a lifetime that would also pave the way for international careers in hospitality. Through a partnership with Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) and the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), this program offers an immersion of myriad cultures across three continents in just three semesters – with three world-class faculties and unparalleled industry exposure through a rigorous academic business project and professional certifications. It also provides students with an extensive

understanding of world markets and business field trips to tourism hubs across the globe. Establishing a degree of this nature and magnitude had never been attempted before. All things considered, our program with the No. 1 hospitality schools in both Europe and Asia came together relatively quickly after planning began early in 2014. Since the principals all had well-established relationships and knew the quality and strengths of the respective schools, coursework for the three-semester degree plan was developed handily. Dean John Bowen worked with Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Ki-Joon Back to finalize details and help seal the deal on this groundbreaking academic partnership.


This fast and furious 16-month program pushes students to their limits and knocks them out of their comfort zones. With the world as their classroom, “Globies” – a name coined by Jennifer Glickman, our director of International Programs – thrive on the energy of experiencing new places and meeting new people. They live together, travel together, study, work and play together. This much fellowship breaks down any cliques that tend to form naturally, quickly catapulting them into one big blended family that is extraordinarily supportive during what is arguably the most intense, all-consuming experience of their young adult lives. There is nothing else like it in the world.

their company and advisor to make sure their project is going in the right direction, and take business field trips to Macau, Shanghai and Beijing.

Our Master of Science in Global Hospitality Business launched in September 2015 and consisted of 27 students representing 19 nationalities. Admissions each year are capped at 30 to 35 students, which keeps program coordination and international travel manageable. Our Globies range in age from 19 to 30 and bring to the classroom a variety of worldviews and open minds about different cultures – qualities that make them ideal candidates for an industry that demands a generation of business leaders who can think globally and act locally. Our cohorts hail from an average of 16 countries and speak a minimum of two languages. Some students speak six or seven languages.

With their projects behind them, Globies can focus fully on their coursework during their third and final semester at Hilton College. In Houston, their concentration shifts to innovative hospitality technology, organizational behavior and leadership strategies. They also visit Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas and take a cruise to Cozumel to learn about cruise line operations. In December, the cohort graduates from the University of Houston, along with our other upper- and underclassmen. Each graduate chooses their degree-granting institution. They also earn professional certificates from each school.

THE PROGRAM Each cohort’s journey begins in September at EHL in Lausanne, Switzerland. In lieu of a professional paper or thesis, Globies are tasked with solving a complex and specific realworld business problem for one of 11 to 14 multinational companies as part of their academic business project. During orientation, they rank at least five issues they would like to explore based on their expertise and interests. Globies don’t learn the name of the company they will work with or even the faculty advisor for the project until the end of orientation when they are matched and placed on teams of three. It is more important for them to be excited about the problem they’ll be solving than who the company is or where its headquarters is located. Coursework at EHL is designed to hone students’ analytical skills, particularly in finance and strategic decision-making. They’ll also take experiential field trips to global cities like Paris, Berlin and Lisbon, and work with their teams to start collecting data and formulating a plan to solve their designated company’s problem. Their second semester is spent at PolyU in Hong Kong. Classes there are geared toward operations management and focus on revenue, marketing and service excellence. They’ll also give an intermediate presentation to

The summer months are devoted to completing their business projects with a minimum of 10 days spent working in residence with executives of the hospitality company they’ve been paired with from day one. Having met benchmarks along the way to keep them on track, teams make their final presentations in July. Hyatt, citizenM Hotels and Meliá Hotels International are just three of the companies that have offered students jobs as a direct result of these assignments.

Our Globies tell us time and time again that they especially love their semester in Houston. They applaud our city’s diversity where anyone from any country can find their native foods. They appreciate our campus facilities that help them with their stress and well-being, and love the freedom of not being restricted to campus housing. And they love our faculty and staff who they credit with being sincerely interested in them and always going the extra mile to engage and open doors that have led to even more opportunity. Most of all, they love our culture and our special Texas brand of hospitality. Since its inception, 94 students have graduated from our global MS program. Along the way, they have worked with and wined and dined with industry executives, and developed an enviable network of contacts from around the world. They become alumni of the top hospitality schools in North America, Europe and Asia, with access to all the resources and benefits these relationships afford. Throughout this remarkable journey, our Globies have also made lifelong connections to their classmates and faculty mentors who have walked with them every step of the way. After virtually living out of a suitcase for the last 16 months, it’s these relationships – not just the memories of international travel – that will leave lasting impressions as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

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EXECUTIVE EDUCATION – OUR ONLINE MASTER’S AND CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS

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hen we offered our first master’s degree in 1989, it took our program to the next level. When we began taking applications for our Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration in 2014, it ensured our national prominence. And when we launched our first online executive master’s in January 2017, it put a cherry on top of our executive education offerings that have been a staple at Hilton College since our earliest days of hosting the Texas Hotel Association’s Short Course in Hotel Management. Just in the last decade, the number of online degrees offered by institutions of higher learning has skyrocketed. But not all online programs are created equally. To have a quality online presence, you need quality faculty – and that’s one of the things that has always set us apart. In the U.S. and around the world, our graduate curriculum has a great reputation for practicality. At the request of both the industry and our graduates – and bolstered by the

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success of our existing graduate and doctoral degrees – Hilton College offers an online option that is as rigorous and demanding as our residential graduate degrees. And even though coursework is 100 percent online, faculty-student engagement is also comparable, with constant communication and support through emails, iMessage, Skype and Zoom meetings. Our Executive Master of Hospitality Management (MHM) is a one-year, 30-credit hour program designed to accommodate the schedules of busy working professionals who want to advance their education and get a leg up on the competition without losing focus on their jobs and busy lives. Anyone, anywhere at any time can reap the benefits of this master’s program in the comfort of their own home, while on the road, or whenever and wherever it suits them. Each course is five weeks long, with a one-week break between courses. And for those who need more flexibility, there is also an option to complete the degree with a one-and-a-half-year or two-year plan if necessary. Two unique features of our MHM is project development and practicum. With the project development component, students choose a problem that they’d like to solve in their own jobs or within their company and work under the mentorship of a faculty advisor to solve it. An example of this is an incentive program for loyal customers developed by a former student who worked for Disney. When he presented his final project to his work supervisor, it was actually adopted by the department. The practicum aspect of the degree involves self-evaluation and students developing their own personal branding to advance in their careers. Students also build an e-portfolio and complete the CHIA (Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics) certification program. Since the introduction of our executive MHM, our cohorts have tripled in size. Increasingly, other industries are also realizing the advantages of their employees having a solid foundation in hospitality soft skills that are essential in any successful service business. To that end, we are expanding our reach in such sectors as health care and well-being services, where patient satisfaction is paramount.

CERTIFICATES AND EMPLOYEE TRAINING Under the umbrella of our Executive Education program, Hilton College also offers master’s-level certificates. In 2018, we launched a one-semester, credit-bearing certificate program in Hospitality Decision Making and Data Analytics. The diverse expertise of our faculty allows us to develop certificate programs such as this for hospitality companies and nonprofits in any hospitality niche. The same is true for creating course content and leading employee training workshops. From foodservice and casino companies to governments and restaurant associations, our Executive Education office is a one-stop shop for any sized company wanting to develop or customize one of our faculty-led, executive-level certificate programs or employee training sessions. The income generated from these programs allows our Executive Education office to be sustainable and to further enhance our coursework offerings. We are also committed to community service initiatives with partners like Diageo. Since 2015, we’ve trained local veterans in restaurant, banquet and beverage service. Participants earn certificates in beverage & food handling after completing this four-week program held at the Hilton University of Houston. As education evolves, so do we. And through our Executive Education program, Hilton College continues to lead the way for students – and employers – who want to take careers to the next level.

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ERIC’S CLUB –

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The Eric Hilton Distinguished Alumni Club, known as Eric’s Club, is an extraordinary group of industry seasoned alumni who are “paying it forward” and inspiring the hospitality leaders of tomorrow – one story at a time through the Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair Alumni Lecture Series. Established in 1999 by former Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair and Professor Emeritus Clinton L. Rappole to honor esteemed hotelier Eric Hilton, these lectures bring accomplished alumni back to the classroom to share how their personal journeys, successes and failures have shaped their exceptional careers. Alphy Johnson (’76) gave the first lecture on April 12, 1999. Since then, two new lecturers are selected from the membership each spring and fall to come “home” to Hilton College and share their stories with students assembled in Alumni Hall. It’s these stories that are at the very heart of Eric’s Club. In 2005, past lecturers banded together to leverage their collective potential and formed Eric’s Club. The aim of this distinguished alumni group is to build a legacy of student inspiration and alumni connectivity, while providing a network of support and resources to the College. In the 14 years since the club’s inception, members have also created a rich tradition of philanthropy that is helping to foster a legacy of alumni giving at Hilton College. Collectively, Eric’s Club has generated in excess of $9 million, which includes individual gifts to the College, scholarship support of the Eric’s Club Rising Seniors Scholarship Endowment and the Gourmet Night/Robert Raulston Scholarship Endowment, as well as facility renovations, including Alumni Hall. Most recently, member Doug Brooks (’75) and his family led the campaign to create an opportunity for Eric’s Club to name the College’s Center for Student Success, now located in the West Wing. Fellow members rose to

the challenge. When this build-out is complete, the space will be called the Eric’s Club Center for Student Success. What began as a simple lecture series has evolved into a testament of how our alumni continue to make a difference long after graduation day.


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KEEPING THE FLAME AGLOW The innkeeper’s lamp has long been a symbol of Conrad N. Hilton’s vision for the College and the hospitality industry to which he devoted so much of his life. In his oft-quoted speech explaining why he chose to support the future leaders of the industry through the founding of this College, Hilton ascribed his faith in the promise of the global lodging business and in the graduates of the new Hilton School who would carry the “flame of hospitality” into the hotels of the 21st century. The lamp was first represented in the College’s original logo – the top half illustrated the welcoming light and warmth of the innkeeper’s lamp, the bottom depicted the key to Founding Dean James Taylor’s office. Though our logo has evolved over the years, this symbolism has endured through a lapel pin worn proudly by the members of the Keepers of the Lamp Society.

Established in 2005, this recognition society is made up of alumni, honorary alumni and students who want to uphold the legacy of our founder by making an investment of any size in their College and, thereby, “holding high the lamp” for current and future students. In appreciation, donors receive a Keepers of the Lamp lapel pin denoting the year of their contribution. In commemoration of the 50 years since this flame first began spreading the light and warmth of hospitality at Hilton College, we have redesigned the Keepers of the Lamp Society’s pin, which will now be given to all future donors. As we enter our next half century of providing the very best in hospitality education, our founder’s flame of hospitality continues to burn ever so brightly through the generosity of the Keepers of the Lamp Society.

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FOR THE LOVE OF COUGAR FOOTBALL – OUR TAILGATE 30 40 50 TRADITION

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The Blitz was such a success that former Dean John Bowen purchased one of the last pavilions – a 20-foot by 40-foot structure with a cement floor, roof and railings – behind Robertson Stadium, with the goal of creating a permanent gathering place where alumni, students and future students could meet and network. This was a big commitment on the part of the College, and it worked! In 2004, Arocha established the Conrad N. Hilton College Ambassadors – a new student organization that was an outgrowth of realizing the importance of student involvement in tours and recruiting events. That fall, Arocha and 25 of his new Ambassadors set up banquet tables, decorated the pavilion, cooked, served and hosted the College’s first official tailgate.

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The Ambassadors purchased three small propane grills and started out cooking simple things like sausage on a stick, hot dogs and burgers, before graduating to brisket. For one game, the parent of an Ambassador, who was part of a cooking team for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, parked his big barbecue smoker trailer behind Eric’s Restaurant so that students could smoke their brisket just before the game. The Ambassadors living in Moody Towers took turns checking on the smoking progress throughout the night. The involvement of the Ambassadors also caught the attention of other student orgs, including TRACC (Texas Restaurant AssociationCougar Chapter), and made them excited about participating.

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In Fall 2003, former Enrollment Director Danny Arocha (’95) held the College’s first Fall Blitz, an open house recruiting event that is still going strong today. With just a tent, a table, a small patio grill and some donated food, Arocha set up a makeshift tailgate in the parking lot behind the old Robertson Stadium. At that time, football tickets were just $5 apiece, so he invited students from high schools and community colleges for a tour of the College, followed by a little food and football. To help him run the event, Arocha visited classrooms to drum up volunteers.

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ur tailgating culture has come a long way since our first event held 16 years ago. In fact, the College’s first tailgate wasn’t really about football at all – it was more about an inventive means of recruiting prospective students to the College.

Student attendance started to climb. At its peak, the annual Fall Blitzes introduced 300 prospective freshmen and transfer students and their parents to Hilton College. Enrollment increased, and Dean Bowen was there, season after season, sporting his trademark Cougar Red pants in support of this burgeoning tradition. UH’s tailgate pavilions were torn down at the end of the 2012 football season when Robertson Stadium was demolished to make way for the new TDECU Stadium, which opened on August 29, 2014. The College claimed its space to be a part of Party on the Plaza and beer was added to our tailgate menus. A new era in Hilton College tailgating had begun. Since 2016, the Hilton College Alumni Association, in partnership with the College’s Development & Alumni Engagement office, has overseen the details, secured food sponsors and hosted these tailgates.

For the last two years, thanks to the generosity of our many industry food sponsors and friends, volunteers from Chef Anthony Chevalier’s Foods II class have been able to take traditional tailgate fare to new heights. Yes, they’ve made plenty of hot dogs and burgers as well as chili Frito pie, but they’ve also added fan favorites like chicken and sausage gumbo, red beans and rice, bread pudding, fajitas, pralines and cornbread to the mix. And, of course, margaritas and mimosas! The class has even concocted special-themed dishes to acknowledge opposing teams.

Wanting to make all of their tailgate food accessible and enjoyable, the class also introduced vegetarian and vegan options like fajitagrilled vegetables, black bean burgers and vegan burritos – much to the delight of regular Hilton College tailgaters like UH President Renu Khator. As our tailgating culture has evolved, Hilton College continues to have one of the most popular tents on UH’s Party on the Plaza. Our food always scores, but it’s the personal connections that keep people coming back!

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magine you’re 17 years old and feeling the pressure of deciding where you want to go to college and what you want to do with your life. How do you know what you like or don’t like until you try it? “Trying on hospitality” to see how it fits was the impetus behind the creation of our Hospitality Industry Summer Camps, where high school rising seniors dive in head first to test the waters and learn firsthand about the myriad career paths within the industry.

Introduced by former Enrollment Director Danny Arocha (’95) in June 2004, our inaugural summer camp session hosted 20 students. Scholarships were offered to those on a free or reducedcost lunch program. Uniquely, students granted scholarships who lived out of state also received free round-trip airfare, and Arocha picked them up and dropped them back off at the airport. In the beginning, campers stayed in the University’s old “Quads” residence halls to get a glimpse of what it would be like to live on campus as a Hilton College student. It was an instant hit and high school counselors working with Arocha asked for more. Today, there are three two-and-a-half day sessions, and campers stay at the freshmen dorms in Cougar Village. These scholarships – and airport transportation – are still being offered. Each June, some 60 prospective freshmen are introduced to our College through our hospitality camps to learn how we prepare our graduates for the exciting global hospitality industry. Rather than just leafing through the pages of a college brochure or listening to a recruiting pitch at a college fair, students take mini field trips where they actually shake the hands of industry executives and CEOs who give them business cards and encourage them to call with questions.

As each interaction and experience builds upon the next, they begin to discover where their interests and passions lie, with many an “ah-ha” moment along the way as they realize that a career in hospitality just might be their calling. Because teenagers trust and can easier relate to those who have recently walked in their shoes, our Conrad N. Hilton College Ambassadors serve as camp counselors, sharing their own journeys and reasons for ultimately choosing Hilton College. Many of our former and current Ambassadors were once campers themselves, making them perfectly poised to connect with these perspective students on a more personal level. The confidence gained from the moment our campers anxiously check in and meet their roommates to the pride exuded from nailing their group presentations on the last day of camp is evident. These camps have proven time and time again to help students narrow down their options, which ultimately leads to more measured decisions about their future. They will know what to expect from our program, and their new-found relationships with their counselors and fellow campers show them that they will make fast friends and find their own niche. Over the last 15 years, hundreds of students have enrolled at Hilton College because of this immersive exposure to the industry. Thanks to the passion and commitment of our Ambassadors, recruiters and industry partners, this annual recruitment tradition continues to help the best and the brightest figure out what the next chapter of their lives might look like. Whether or not they choose hospitality and Hilton College, it’s a whirlwind of activity with our special brand of experiential learning that they won’t soon forget! » H I L T O N

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DAY 1:

CAMPUS DAY Our Ambassadors meet nervous young campers in the lobby of our Hilton hotel and help them get checked into their dorm rooms. They explore the College and campus through scavenger hunts, eat in the University dining halls, and take group tours of the Recreation and Wellness Center, Student Center, TDECU Stadium and more. They meet with faculty and staff to learn about classes, programs and student organizations to get a sense of what it would be like to be a student here. They prepare a three-course dinner with our executive chef and, by working together in our kitchen, ease their first day jitters. They are pumped and excited to be away from home and spend the night with new friends in a dorm room for the very first time.

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INDUSTRY DAY

Campers are up with the sun to board the bus for our much-anticipated field trips. Over the years, they have visited a variety of hospitality venues to take in a big-picture view of the industry – from Minute Maid Park to the Hilton Americas-Houston. They tour a number of restaurants, hotels and sports arenas for an insider’s look at the kinds of places a degree from Hilton College can take them. The River Oaks Country Club has also been a frequent stop on our field trip route. From the get-go, Joe Bendy (’89), chief operating officer and general manager of the Club, has been an enthusiastic supporter of our program and personally gives tours of this exclusive private venue. For many campers, this is the first time they’ve ever set foot in a country club. Recently, the San Luis Resort & Spa in Galveston has also become a popular addition to our camp schedule – thanks to Paul Schultz, vice president of Hospitality for Landry’s. In addition to touring the resort, students learn about service and operations at this luxury property. They also participate in a culinary competition and break into groups to take on a marketing challenge that focuses on developing new resort activities suited for families. Sometimes, there is even time for a quick dip in the pool before returning to campus to unwind at the Student Center’s bowling alley and arcade. Then, it’s back to the dorms to perfect their marketing plans before turning out the lights after an eventful day of eye-opening industry interactions.

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DAY 3:

PRESENTATION DAY Campers pitch their ideas to representatives from the San Luis who come to the College to evaluate their ideas and to choose a winning presentation. And, of course, they learn about the freshman admissions process before wrapping up their camp experience with lunch. Then, it’s time to say goodbye to new friends, many of whom will hopefully reunite as Hilton College freshmen after graduating from their respective high schools in Houston, across Texas and throughout the United States.

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FRED PARKS BOARDROOM & WINE CELLAR – ADVANCING WINE EDUCATION

Great strides have been made in our Beverage Program since Parks – a famed trial lawyer, philanthropist and ardent wine connoisseur – was first introduced to the College in 1994 by renowned wine expert Denman Moody. So impressed was Parks with our program even 25 years ago that he donated a portion of his wine collection to the College later that year. This collection became the foundation of our Fred Parks Wine Cellar, which at one point featured more than 1,000 bottles, ranging from the early 1900s to contemporary vintages.

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Parks embodied the belief that drinking a glass of wine a day is part of a healthy lifestyle and proved it to be true by living to the ripe old age of 95. At his bequest, his estate donated the remainder of his collection to the College after his death in 2001. A generous grant from the Fred and Mabel R. Parks Foundation in 2006 helped establish the Fred Parks Boardroom, allowing us to showcase and pair his remarkable collection with his passion for wine education. Today, this elegant boardroom – with its adjoining glass-walled wine cellar – serves as an international repository for wine research and education, while also providing C E L E B R A T I N G

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an intimate setting for meetings, tastings and other exclusive events held at the College. While Parks appreciated all fine wines, he was especially passionate about French Bordeaux. By 2014, a considerable number of bottles from this collection were just hitting their peak. Though many were used for tastings, some were served at scholarship dinners and others auctioned off at various fundraisers, far too many bottles were just gathering dust. So that these precious wines would not go to waste, the College collaborated with Christie’s New York to sell a large portion of this collection during the auction house’s first live wine auction of its spring 2014 season. On March 24, this exquisite 95-lot collection, including all five First Growth Bordeaux – Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Margaux and Château Haut-Brion – and many other of the Great Growths of Bordeaux, were up for bid. Many of these wines were from 1982, 1989 and 1990 – all considered some of the top vintages of the 20th century. Also included in the sale was a variety of the finest Californian wines, a large selection of Italian wines, the bourbon of Pappy Van Winkle, and a large offering of drinking Bordeaux from the Bordeaux Wine Collection. The Christie’s auction raised more than $350,000, the funds of which were used to benefit the College and our Beverage Program. Today, there are nearly 150 bottles remaining in our Parks collection that are still good as gold. What to do with some of those bottles in the name of wine education? Arrange a wine tasting, of course!

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f Fred Parks were to look down from heaven to see how his collection of fine and rare wines was being used to promote wine education at Hilton College, chances are excellent that he would open a bottle of the finest Bordeaux and raise a glass to our efforts!


On November 1, 2017, a select group of top beverage leaders, master sommeliers and wine directors gathered at our Spec’s Beverage & Food Appreciation Laboratory for the be-all and end-all of wine tastings in honor of the iconic Fred Parks. Among the invitees were John Rydman, president and owner of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods; Jim McClellan, president of the Parks Foundation; and Dale Robertson, wine writer and longtime sports reporter first with the Houston Post and then the Houston Chronicle. The tasting featured the best selections from the Parks collection – a dozen vintages from mid-century to the early 1900s of all five First Growth Bordeaux, including a 1918 Château Lafite-Rothschild. Associate Professor and Beverage Program Director Chris Taylor, who organized what the lucky participants claimed was quite possibly the best wine tasting in the world, also included several of his former and current graduate students to assist with logistics and to experience this truly once-in-a-lifetime wine event. Albeit this rare tasting was planned weeks in advance, happenstance would have it that the date conflicted with Game 7 of the World Series.

Like that 99-year-old bottle of Lafite, just as unreal was the fact that our hometown Astros were slugging it out with the L.A. Dodgers for their first ever Series title. You know you’ve got something extraordinary when everyone chooses to attend – including the longest-tenured sports writer at a major daily newspaper in Texas who gives up covering the most thrilling game in franchise history! Of course, the game was playing on mute in the background and it really helped that the good guys had jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, making this experience even more surreal. It was an unbelievable night to be a wine connoisseur and a Houston Astros’ fan! For our students to be able to experience this caliber of wine tasting alongside the beverage industry’s elite is the pinnacle of wine education. And this is exactly what Fred Parks would have wanted us to do with his collection. His philosophy was simple: to promulgate wine education to the masses. Through our Fred Parks Boardroom, Wine Cellar and annual Wine Lecture Series that provides a free wine lecture and tasting to the public (underwritten by the Parks Foundation), we believe he’d toast to what we’re doing at Hilton College and pour himself another glass of Bordeaux. Cheers to that!

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OUR BEVERAGE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM – UNCORKING PASSIONS

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ne of the coolest aspects of the facility tours given by our recruiters and College Ambassadors is our Spec’s Beverage & Food Appreciation Laboratory. Wide-eyed high-school students and their parents often stop dead in their tracks on this part of the tour… “Wait… you mean we can drink wine and get course credit?!” Then they round the corner and see our beverage fermentation lab… “Really? We get to make beer, too?!” To completely blow their young minds, recruiters wrap up the tours by walking to the opposite side of the South Wing to show them the future home of our new brewpub… “We sure didn’t have classes like this when I was in college!” is a common parental refrain.

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After the Ambassadors explain that many students have to wait until they are of the legal drinking age of 21 to take our tasting and alcohol production classes, they talk about the virtually unlimited career opportunities in the BOOMING multi-billion-dollar wine, beer and spirits industry. In fact, the glass is always full for careers in the non-alcoholic side of the beverage industry as well – everything from coffee, tea and juices to water, smoothies and energy drinks. And yep, Hilton College just happens to be a world leader in beverage management education, which provides a solid foundation for any hospitality career. The cornerstone of our Beverage Management Program is our Wine Appreciation class, which was first introduced in »


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the late 1980s by Clive Berkman – an adjunct professor and managing director of Charley’s 517, once an iconic downtown Houston restaurant known for its wine list. When Kevin Simon (’92), a wine connoisseur in his own right, took over the class in 1996, he had 30 students in his first lab. Today, some 250 students annually take this elective to gain a better understanding of wine. Students are introduced to the basics of viticulture (growing of the grapes) and enology (study of wine), the popular wine regions of the world, and the laws that regulate the industry. They also discuss wine and food pairings and, of course, they get to taste. By the end of the semester, students will know 95 percent more about wine than the average consumer. Because of

what they’ve learned, they also appreciate that they have only scratched the surface. Wine is complex, not complicated. But for many, the abundance of choice can be intimidating and overwhelming. This class “demystifies” wine and makes it more approachable. Winemaking is an art. And like any other art form, the more it’s understood, the more it’s appreciated – hence, the name, “Wine Appreciation.” For thousands of students, this singular class has uncorked their passion for wine. And it’s not just HRM majors who are learning about wine’s complexity and nuance – it’s nonmajors across the University of Houston campus as well. In fact, depending on the semester, there can be more non-

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majors taking this elective than majors. Take Jason Centanni, for example. In 2005, he was a pre-med student majoring in bio chemistry when he decided to take Simon’s Wine Appreciation class. So enthralled by what he learned about wine and so excited with the industry that by the end of the class, he completely changed the trajectory of his life. Today, he is the head winemaker at Llano Estacado, the largest and oldest premium winery in Texas. This seminal class has been the springboard for hundreds of careers in the wine and spirits industry. Countless others have become educated and enthusiastic consumers because of what they’ve learned in this class – and that, too, is a great outcome for the wine industry.

CULTIVATING A BEVERAGE PROGRAM In addition to this mainstay wine class, Beverage Management was the only other beverage class that Hilton College offered in its early years. There was no direct link between academia and industry or research and real-world applications, which are so integral to our program today. In response, Dr. Glenn Cordúa y Cruz co-founded the Wine & Spirits Management Institute (W&SMI) in fall 2001 and served as the institute’s director. John and Lindy Rydman and their daughter, Lisa – the owners of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods – were founding donors and partners in the development of W&SMI.


A collaborative effort between the College and other wine and spirits partners, W&SMI identified, recruited and educated candidates for commercial beverage management positions. To accommodate work schedules, one-credit hour courses were conducted here on the weekends and attendees received certificates for course completion. Students could also attend these classes for course credit. Eventually, companies determined that some of the information provided in these open forums was proprietary and opted to bring their beverage training in-house. The upside when W&SMI closed its doors? These courses were expanded and developed especially for our students, giving impetus to the creation of our minor in Beverage Management and Marketing. Our beverage minor, open to all UH students, has been offered since 2008. One elective developed by Dr. Cordúa through W&SMI is our “excursion immersion” to various wineries in Napa and Sonoma Valley. First offered in 2002, the class gives students a behind-the-scenes look at winery operations – bringing to life everything they had learned in their lectures. Today, the California Wine Experience is offered in mid-May, when the vines are more developed and the California sunshine showcases the breathtaking beauty of the vineyards. Simon has been accompanying students on this annual trip to the California Wine Country since day one. Through this experience, hundreds of students have made personal connections with owners, winemakers and top executives in the California wine industry. Some have even landed jobs because of impressions made during these visits. The relationships nurtured through these wineries for nearly two decades have also put Hilton College on the map in the region and opened doors to other such opportunities, thanks to the professionalism exhibited by our students and the growing reputation of the College within the beverage industry.

HARVESTING NEW OPPORTUNITIES To take our program to the next level, Dr. Chris Taylor – who also teaches Wine Appreciation – was brought in as the first director of the College’s Beverage Management Program in 2013. An active researcher whose focus is on wine preference development and consumer behavior, Dr. Taylor has been cultivating industry partnerships and

contacts that benefit our students from the get-go. In fall 2019, Hilton College rolled out its new undergraduate curriculum. Wine & Beverage Studies is one of four new academic tracks from which students will now choose. This new beverage track includes the four-credit hour Global Wine Immersion course with a lab component – a kind of “Wine Appreciation on steroids.” Students will also work toward their WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) certification. Longstanding core electives like Alcoholic Beverage Production and Beer Appreciation are part of the new curriculum as well. In fact, these classes are currently taught by the cofounder and brewmaster of the wildly successful 8th Wonder Brewery, Aaron Corsi (’09, MS ’11), who also hires our students. Corsi, along with partner Ryan Sorka (MS/MBA ’11), actually developed their business plans for their craft beer brewery while here as graduate students. It doesn’t get more authentic than that! Another elective, the Texas Food & Wine Experience, is a vintage example of what’s possible when seeds are sown in the industry. For the last four years, Dr. Taylor has taken students on a spring break experiential road trip to wineries in the Texas High Plains and Hill Country for a deeper look into the business of winemaking in the Lone Star State – from growing and bottling to distribution and the effect on tourism. These trips are fully funded by the International Wine & Food SocietyHouston. It’s these kinds of industry relationships as well as collaborative research projects and community outreach that allow us to help our students discover their place in this dynamic lucrative industry. Today, there are eight classes in our Beverage Management Program that are now part of our new Wine & Beverage Studies track. Our beverage minor has been revamped to place a stronger emphasis on internships, and then there’s our Spec’s state-of-the-art beverage sensory lab that opened in 2014. Plans are also underway to build a fermentation, brewing and distillation lab that will provide onsite-beer production for a new student brewpub. Like a fine wine at its peak, there has never been a more fruitful time to study beverage management at Hilton College. And yes, if you heard it through the grapevine, our students really do get credit for tasting!

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COUGAR GROUNDS – CAFFEINATING OUR COMMUNITY SINCE 2008

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n idea had been percolating with Dirk Smith (MHM ’92) ever since he purchased the rights from Diedrich Coffee to the Houston market in 2001. He had made a name for himself with the California-based chain and had purchased all the Houston-area coffee shops. The moment he hit town, he contacted Dean John Bowen about building community with an in-house Diedrich’s coffee shop and was determined to bring a coffee culture to his alma mater. He knew exactly the kind of space he wanted to create. As the “Dirk” behind Dirk’s Coffee on the Rice University campus, he also had a clear vision of what college students wanted. His enthusiasm was contagious. Dean Bowen agreed that Smith would be the perfect partner and he knew the perfect location… The former home of the University Faculty Club in the South Wing was being used as a banquet training space. Hidden behind old drab green drapes were floor-to-

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ceiling windows with a view of Lynn Eusan Park. It also had the Club’s original cocktail and coffee bars. It was ideal! The “bean” had been planted, but it would take another five years for the plan to sprout. In 2006, a request for proposal was sent out to establish an in-house coffee shop at Hilton College. Smith was awarded the contract, but Dean Bowen also had a thought that had been brewing since they first met. He pitched Smith his idea of making this new hangout a student-run venture, as well as creating an entrepreneurial class using the coffee shop as the lab. The specialty coffee industry provided an ideal setting for teaching students the challenges and opportunities of owning a small business and being a successful entrepreneur. Smith was the ideal person to instruct them – being an alumnus was just an added perk! Without hesitation, he was on board! In a grand gesture of support, he agreed to make the College the operator and beneficiary of all proceeds generated by the new coffee shop. He was hired as a consultant and worked with Dean Bowen to create what would become the first on-campus, student-run coffee shop in the nation. Now a self-funded project, there was no extra money for demolition or build-outs so Smith was limited to reconfiguring the existing space. The simplicity and openness of his design was transformative! The project was also injected with a double shot of espresso-strength assistance from local and national companies eager to be involved with such an innovative project. Among those that initially provided free or discounted products and services were Gallery Furniture’s Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale who outfitted the space with tables, chairs and benches; Republic of Tea supplied the operation with its first full order of teas and continues to provide discounts; La Marzocco, a Seattle producer of top-of-the-line coffee machines, reduced its price on an espresso machine and specialty grinders; and Jodi Berg of Vitamix donated equipment and worked with students to develop new recipes. To run the day-to-day operations, train student baristas and provide a firstclass customer experience, Smith brought in Sean Lawless – his business partner at Diedrich Coffee – in August 2008 to ready the new coffee shop for its soft opening in October. Lawless was already a well-respected veteran in the Houston coffee market, known for his discerning taste in finding the best beans so that he could give his customers the highest-quality, best-tasting coffee possible. He also worked with Smith on the Dirk’s Coffee project at Rice and could relate to the college crowd. As Lawless likes to joke, he came with the project! Together, Smith and Lawless sniffed out some of the finest coffees in the world, trying out different roasts to find the blends that would make Hilton College’s new coffee shop stand out from the competition. With furnishings and equipment in place, menu boards hung and product ordered, there was just one housekeeping matter left to attend to – christening the new coffee shop with a signature name. The aim of this community space was to provide a warm, inviting place to have a great cup of coffee, so it needed a moniker that would be embraced by its customers. »


A contest was held and students, faculty and staff were encouraged to submit names and then vote for their favorite. One of the names up for consideration was “Phi Slama Java,” a tribute to the University of Houston’s self-professed fraternity brothers of Phi Slama Jama – the hottest collegiate basketball team in the country in the early 1980s. Many faculty and staff embraced the name but current students then, most of whom were born in the 1990s, had no clue what the wordplay even meant. The winning name by a landslide was submitted by Rick Arnold (’98), the College’s IT manager. In no time, “Cougar Grounds” was off and running and would quickly take on a life of its own. Because we take our coffee quite seriously, the “Cougar” in Cougar Grounds needed a face to reflect the warmth of the brand. Director of Communications Debbie Maurer worked with Watson Riddle with UH Creative Services to find just the right illustrator for the task. After reviewing portfolios, California artist Brian White was given the nod. He created five sketches that Maurer and Riddle presented to students in the Introduction to Hospitality classes. Their comments were shared with the illustrator and, after several refinements, we had our Cougar Grounds Cougar. The new Cougar logo was emblazoned on everything from coffee cup sleeves, mugs and T-shirts to coupons, elevator signs and sandwich boards for the new coffee shop’s unofficial debut on October 27, 2008.

POISED TO BECOME A CAMPUS HOT SPOT The keys to a successful coffee shop are great product, great service and great atmosphere. When the doors opened for our internal customers, Cougar Grounds was in a unique position to offer all three. Three months later, after its official grand opening on January 26, 2009, it was well on its way. A student-run coffee shop was a novelty among universities and the buzz being generated was a big deal. Three local news affiliates sent reporters to cover the grand opening, and one station even set up remotely to go “Live from Cougar Grounds!” for its afternoon newscast. As devised, Cougar Grounds also serves as the lab for the College’s entrepreneurship class. Smith taught the first class in summer 2009 and remains an adjunct lecturer for the class today. Lawless works with students for the lab component. From the get-go, Cougar Grounds has been a full-scale coffee shop backed by the world's finest coffee beans and a gold standard in service. It serves coffees from around the world roasted right here in Houston, as well as espresso roasted in Florence, Italy. To ensure that the farmers get a fair price on their beans, Smith and Lawless insist on only serving coffees that have been certified as Fair Trade. Cougar Grounds also offers a variety of hot and cold gourmet coffees, deluxe teas and signature coffee-blended drinks – including extraordinary delicious macchiatos,

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mochas, chai lattes, caramel lattes and more. Additionally, fresh-baked, locally-made breakfast muffins and pastries, desserts and sandwiches are on the menu in this space that combines the hip ambiance of a small urban coffeehouse with quality that bests the top coffee chains in the country. In addition to devoted customers from the College, others on the UH campus have discovered Cougar Grounds and keep pouring in to enjoy what simply is the best coffee – and atmosphere – on campus. And that’s not just a lot of brew-ha-ha! Among other accolades, Cougar Grounds was named “Best On-Campus Hangout” in the Coogs Choice 2019 awards by Cooglife, UH’s monthly lifestyle and entertainment magazine. With our student baristas serving some 3,000 customers and going through nearly 90 pounds of coffee and 90 gallons of milk weekly, it’s hard to imagine that in the early days $1-off coupons were needed to drum up business. Lawless has been the steady hand steering this ship from day one. Over the past 11 years, he has trained and worked with more than 100 student baristas who work part-time to keep the College caffeinated. He may have “come with the project,” but today Lawless is as essential to the continuing success of Cougar Grounds as his freshly ground beans. His student baristas think so, too. In 2017, he received the Jim Wortman Mentorship Award. In August 2018, a Cougar Grounds kiosk opened on the second floor of the University’s Health 2 Building, which houses the Colleges of Optometry and Pharmacy. Lawless worked closely with Dean Dennis Reynolds to make this second unit a reality. With two campus locations, Cougar Grounds now allows a true multi-unit management experience for our students.

SHOWCASING HANDCRAFTED COFFEES Major plans have been brewing to relocate Cougar Grounds from its home in the South Wing to the Eric’s Club Center for Student Success in our West Wing. Once an architect and contractor are confirmed for both the West Wing renovation and our hotel expansion, Cougar Grounds can move and expand into its larger footprint. Its new location will also serve as a point of arrival for customers and give the College a broader platform for coffee education. The new space calls for an open concept, where baristas are in the center of a big square serving counter – allowing more elbow room to provide stellar service and to continue building relationships with new and regular customers. Lawless aims to create a “third place” that brings an open, interactive, creative vibe to fantastic coffee without the pretentiousness or intimidation served up with orders at some artisan coffee shops. He’s excited to have the opportunity to educate young adults who are just being introduced to coffee and to show them that there is so much more to this beverage than just sugary, milky brews. As a kind of hybrid,


Cougar Grounds offers the drinks that people have come to expect at other coffee houses but its focus has always been to showcase third wave handcrafted coffees. When Cougar Grounds makes its big move, it will continue to be at the center of student life at Hilton College and at the forefront of all that a coffee shop can be. As history has a way of repeating itself, our favorite student hangout will soon be back in the exact place of the College’s original student lounge where our first deans met with students for coffee and conversation in the mid-1970s. We’re confident Cougar Grounds 2.0 would absolutely “mocha their day!”

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NOTES TO THE ILLUSTRATOR What should the “Cougar” in Cougar Grounds look like? What kind of vibe should he have? To get it right from our primary customers’ point of view, 139 students were presented with five sketches and then asked to vote for their favorite and explain what they liked and didn’t like about each cat. Sketch #3 was the runaway favorite because “he looked most like a cougar.” Sketch #2 didn’t get much love, but they did like his coffee cup because it had a lid. Many wanted to combine the features of #3 and #4. They also wanted to see less seductive and friendlier eyes on #3, a less square jaw on #4, smaller muscles on all, the UH logo removed from the shirts, the steam on the coffee not to look like a question mark, and and and… Comments from these respondents were compiled and sent to the illustrator to create a new composite drawing based on their feedback. After a third round of revisions, the Cougar Grounds Cougar made his debut in 2008 and has since been printed on an untold number of coffee sleeves, T-shirts and marketing pieces. In 2019, senior graphic designer Katie Guidroz gave this Cougar a “refresh” and updated the logotype to complement what will be a more urban-looking space in its new home in the West Wing. As inventory is used up, this new Cougar will be phased in and printed on all things Cougar Grounds.

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our

beans

go

ahead

won't give you

mocyha

C A FF

EI N E

m day

gas

you had me at

SERVING SHOTS

Monday-

macchiato

Friday

COOGS

rough night?

caffeinate HERE!

WE'VE GOT COFFEE!

HOT

LOL :

D R IN K S

L COO PLE

love our latte

PEO

“VINTAGE” T-SHIRT DESIGNS There is something about this Cougar Grounds Cougar that just inspires smiles and puns! In 2013, Cougar Grounds manager Sean Lawless asked our senior graphic designer Katie Guidroz to come up with a T-shirt design for his baristas. Guidroz brainstormed with her communications team to come up with some laugh-out-loud tag lines and “embellished” the Cougar to complement each phrase. Posters were put in Cougar Grounds and students were asked to vote for their favorites. “Espresso yourself” was the customer choice and the baristas liked “Thanks a latte.” Those were the only two T-shirts that were printed. Since this anniversary book has been showcasing archival gems, we couldn’t resist sharing all of our designer’s Cougars – especially the ones that weren’t chosen!

HOT

D R IN K S

if you brew it they will come

coffee as fresh as YOUR MOTHER

L COO PLE PEO

KEEP CALM AND

COFFEE ON

thanks a latte

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MASSAD FAMILY LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES — A TRANSFORMATIONAL GIFT

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ick Massad (’73) first learned about Hilton College while working as a bellman at a Howard Johnson hotel in Arlington, Texas. When he graduated, he vowed that when he was in a position to do so, he would contribute something of consequence to give back to the College that changed his life. He made good on that promise in 2007, when he and his wife Vicki (Hon. ’03) presented the College with a $1.5 million gift that would significantly enhance the College’s library and Hospitality Industry Archives, which

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were built in 1989 through a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The cost to renovate the existing library and archives was $1.2 million. After a family meeting, the Massads all agreed that it would be fitting to give even more – an additional $300,000 to match Conrad N. Hilton’s founding gift of $1.5 million. The balance of these funds were used to create endowments in support of scholarships and research. Then and still today, this is the largest single donation ever presented to the College from a source other than the Hilton Foundation. Funding the renovation of the College’s library and archives, which Photo: Ladd Photography

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now bears the family name, was the perfect way for Massad to express his appreciation to his alma mater, which he credits as the impetus for his successful hotel career as the president and CEO of American Liberty Hospitality. Passionate about history and the hospitality industry, this gift was also a means to preserve the history of the industry while honoring the legacy of Conrad Hilton, as well as his family and their education – all three of his children, Nick III (’02), Margo (’03) and Taylor (’03), are Hilton College graduates.

and three private group-study rooms equipped with the latest technology. There is also an adjoining computer lab and a wealth of hospitality-related resources, including an extensive array of cookbooks from around the world. Large graphic panels of the library’s name and images of Hilton and his sons are also incorporated into the design to striking effect. The Hospitality Industry Archives is housed within the library. A large portrait of the Massad family hangs on the wall to recognize them for their generosity.

Designed by BRAVE/Architecture, the renovated 8,400-square-foot Massad Family Library Research Center and Hospitality Industry Archives opened to students in February 2010 and was officially dedicated on April 7. During the formal dedication ceremony, then Dean John Bowen called the Massads’ gift “transformational.”

Thanks to the personal pledge kept by a young Hilton College graduate in 1973, our Hospitality Industry Archives stands today as the largest – and only – repository for the hospitality industry in the world. A transformational gift, indeed! 

The library is on the second floor of the South Wing and offers contemporary study space, six computer workstations

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A CATALYST FOR RESEARCH COLLABORATION

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uring our spring 2018 commencement, four doctoral students (pictured) made history when they were “hooded” by their thesis advisors and welcomed into an exclusive community of scholars as the first official graduates of our new Ph.D. program in Hospitality Administration.

Seven candidates made up our first cohort and today – with 100 percent placement – each is a tenure-track assistant professor representing the efficacy of our program at tier-one universities around the world. No other doctoral program has done as well placing their graduates. In fact, so well trained are our freshly minted doctors that two were the top finalists out of 47 applicants vying for the same faculty position. One took the position at that university, while the other accepted a position at another prominent school. This was quite the auspicious beginning for a program that took the right people at the right time doing the right things to make it an instant success!

CULTIVATING A DOCTORAL PROGRAM When Dean John Bowen took the reins in 2003, Hilton College was the only leading hospitality school in the world that did not offer a Ph.D. With the growing demand for quality teaching and research faculty in hospitality programs the world over, the time was now to start laying the groundwork for this missing piece of our already highly regarded graduate degree program. Step one was to develop a more collaborative research environment. To this end, the College began offering competitive pay and research support to recruit exceptional research-oriented assistant professors with different areas of expertise and relevant industry experiences. A passion for teaching and mentoring future doctoral students was also essential. Additionally, Dr. Ki-Joon Back (pictured) was hired in 2006 and would later become the associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies to administer current and future programs, and to help further enhance our faculty’s research productivity.

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With a flourishing research culture and a faculty eager to work with doctoral candidates, the formidable process of developing a comprehensive proposal for a Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration began. With assistance from Dean Bowen and Dr. Carl A. Boger Jr., the effort was spearheaded by Dr. Back, who was a crucial contributor to the eventual implementation of this graduate degree. It would, however, take eight years for it to finally be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The biggest hurdle? The state faced budget issues and the coordinating board – as well as the UH leadership at that time – didn’t see the need for a second hospitality Ph.D. program, as Texas Tech University already offered this degree. As soon as Dr. Paula Myrick Short was appointed provost in 2013 and understood the intent and necessity of this offering for the College, the ball started rolling. Dean Bowen shepherded the plan through the remainder of the coordinating board process. By fall 2014, applications were opened for our new Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration, and our first cohort of promising doctoral candidates began their rigorous three- to four-year program the following fall. The degree’s core curriculum focuses on the development of the candidate’s research, leadership, teaching and grantsmanship skills.

THE BENEFITS OF COLLABORATION There are hundreds of examples that validate how valuable our Ph.D. students have become to our faculty’s productivity – and not just in quantity, but in quality. This program has broadened our resources immeasurably and provided our faculty with true research partners in every sense of the word. In 2006, collectively, our faculty was publishing an average of eight papers annually in leading journals. Today, more than 60 academic papers are accepted for publication every year. Our faculty’s research continues to be recognized and highly cited in academic and industry publications, and both our professors and students are walking away with the top awards at major conferences. This increased research output is also elevating our reputation, especially among prospective international students who are looking for doctoral programs in the United States.

From an industry standpoint, the research efforts of our faculty-student collaborations impact our partners in their understanding of business processes, financial performance, human resource issues, marketing applications, training, security, information technology and more. For the customer, our research affects things like service and service recovery, food safety, hotel security and access to secure technology. It also helps other researchers further their understanding of a particular phenomenon. Today more than ever, hospitality workplaces require a very sophisticated management environment, so they’re studying that, too. And as the world becomes more engaged in leisure and well-being activities, this is a research focus as well. Matched with a faculty advisor to guide their inquiries, our doctoral candidates aim to identify research gaps in both academia and industry. Through various avenues – including extensive literature reviews and information gleaned from conferences – they pinpoint what’s missing in their area of interest, then develop the research questions and objectives that will ultimately be part of their final thesis. Using an integrated multi-disciplinary approach and conferring with diverse experts here and at other universities to advance their research, our students investigate their questions through data and analytics, surveys, focus groups and experimental design. These methodologies require critical thinking and the ability to “drill down” into the question they are investigating. This kind of hyper-focused research is not easy, and the students selected for our Ph.D. program are truly committed. They are passionate about becoming professors and researchers and are driven to develop future leaders and to influence their communities and the industry. Doctoral candidates from around the world are choosing Hilton College for two main reasons – the caliber and reputation of our research faculty and our unrivaled connections and relationships with the industry. The College also provides them with the infrastructure and the student success support systems needed to excel during what will be one of the most intensive times of their careers. In just the five years since this program’s inception, Hilton College has become a top choice globally for students wanting to pursue careers in academia. Our fifth cohort of six Ph.D. students begins their studies in fall 2019 and will join other candidates who are in various stages of their degree plans. Their futures are bright, and we are doing our part to train the educators and researchers needed to fill myriad faculty positions around the world – one talented cohort at a time!

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SPEC’S BEVERAGE & FOOD LAB – A GAME CHANGER

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tudents have been “swirling, sniffing and sipping” wine in our Wine Appreciation class since the late 1980s. Even when the class was held in our old demonstration kitchen, it was still among our most popular course offerings. When the new Spec’s Beverage & Food Appreciation Laboratory opened in October 2014 in the space once occupied by that demo kitchen, it was game on! Now more popular than ever, students taking our Wine Appreciation classes who are serious about wine – and those who just want to learn more about it – are enjoying this state-of-the-art lab designed to give them a true sensory experience. The $750,000 wine lab renovation, made possible through the generosity of the Rydman family and the Spec’s Charitable Foundation, officially debuted on October 29, 2014 with a reception honoring Lindy, John and Lisa Rydman of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods. Designed by BRAVE/Architecture, the 2,840-square-foot lab seats up to 65 people for wine appreciation classes, industry training, special event and private tastings, and cooking demonstrations. The Spec’s lab features individual sinks, natural light and backlit white boards to evaluate a wine's color, opacity and texture, as well as wine-holding stations so wines stay in the order they were sent. There is also a temperature controlled wine unit in the room for storage, so that wine is readily available. A computer, document camera and three digital monitors at the front of the room allow instructors to display information,

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including the label of the actual wine bottles. The lab’s entry walls, resembling crushed white paper, make a compelling statement and distinguishes the space, which is located on the first floor of the South Wing.

The lab’s multi-purpose design also allows for sensory evaluation of food and other beverages, such as distilled spirits, beer, coffee and tea. In addition to hundreds of wine classes and private tastings, the lab has been the site of some very memorable demonstrations since it opened nearly five years ago. In May 2018, it was standing room only when James Beard awardwinning Chef Hugo Ortega prepared and served up his famous grasshopper tacos. Researchers from the University of Houston’s BRAIN Center have also used the lab for collaborative studies with our faculty that monitored the brain activity of participants during two occasions – while creating a three-course meal and throughout the experience of drinking wine.

As the only lab of its kind between the two coasts, the Spec’s Beverage & Food Appreciation Lab is a significant enhancement to our Beverage Management Program and solidifies our commitment to the beverage industry. Only a handful of campuses in the country have dedicated facilities to research and evaluate wine, and this premiere wine lab affords us preeminent status as a leader in beverage management education. To that end, it’s no wonder that prospective students interested in careers in the multi-billion-dollar beverage business are choosing Hilton College – and that’s in no small part to this game-changing gift!

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Dorothy son Nichol

CHAMPIONING THE RENOVATION

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n 2013, Eric’s Club board member Dorothy Nicholson (’77) was sitting in the audience in Alumni Hall for the Eric Hilton Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series and couldn’t help but notice that the room had become worn out and sad. The idea behind the Eric’s Club lectures is to showcase alumni, and their stage no longer felt like the special place it needed to be with its dated and shabby wallcovering, carpet and furnishings, and antiquated lighting and technology.

They agreed on six – Founding Dean James C. Taylor, first Associate Dean Donald Greenaway, Professor Emeritus and former Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair Clinton L. Rappole, Professor Douglas C. Keister, Assistant Professor Don “Coach” Smith, and former dean and Professor John T. Bowen.

Since the College’s largest classroom hadn’t seen a facelift since it was built in 1989, she took her concerns to her peers in Eric’s Club. Before she knew it, Nicholson was spearheading the $500,000 fundraising campaign needed to finance the complete demolition and renovation of Alumni Hall.

Because so many students from the College’s early years had special regard for these original deans and professors who were instrumental in establishing our program and bringing it to its current prominence, the members decided to raise the funds they needed for the renovation in their honor.

BRAVE/Architecture was chosen to renovate the space. As part of the room’s design, Eric’s Club members elected to add a gallery wall at the rear of the classroom to memorialize some of the College’s most iconic educators and leaders.

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38 OF ALUMNI HALL The College commissioned internationally renowned, award-winning artist Kenneth R. Turner to create portraits of the six honorees, and the canvases were hung in shadowboxes on the gallery wall designed by staff senior graphic designer Katie Guidroz. Classes resumed in Alumni Hall a few weeks into the fall 2014 semester. On November 5, the portraits were officially revealed during a grand opening reception. To recognize our outstanding graduates, the Hilton College Alumni Association unveiled its Alumni Recognition Wall in April 2016. Past board president Carol White (Hon. ‘88) was the driving force behind the concept and funding for the wall, which is adjacent to Alumni Hall. This “wall of honor” recognizes the most current alumni board and pays tribute to those who have earned the board’s Distinguished Young Alumni, Alumni, Faculty/Staff, Honorary Alumni and Lifetime Achievement awards. Today, thanks to the collective efforts and generous contributions of Eric's Club, as well as other alums who stepped up to honor these icons, Alumni Hall and the Alumni Recognition Wall remain fitting testaments to all of our proud graduates.

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BRINGING HOSPITALITY EDUCATION TO SAN ANTONIO

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Photo: © Bob Owen/San Antonio Express-News/ZUMA Wire

hen hospitality employers in the Alamo City expressed a need for experienced college graduates to lead its workforce, we decided to make history. In Fall 2014, Hilton College-San Antonio opened its doors as the city’s first and only provider of a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management. The 10 students in this inaugural class could now earn their undergraduate degree from the University of Houston in just two years without having to leave the San Antonio area. Housed at Sunset Station’s historic Mission Hotel building, the program offers all the benefits afforded to students attending UH’s Hilton College in Houston, including access to career services and career fairs, academic advising, study abroad and internship opportunities, membership in student organizations, and networking and mentorship programs within our extensive alumni network. The program is designed for transfer students who have completed their freshman- and sophomore-level courses from

either a community college or an accredited four-year university. As the Tourism Capital of Texas and the sixth largest city in the country, San Antonio provides students with a wealth of internship and employment options among its scores of restaurants and hotels. Opportunities abound for students to showcase their hospitality prowess during the city’s annual community events and festivals as well. In spring 2016, our San Antonio program celebrated its first two graduates – Anesa Sankar and Richard Bundick – as they joined their peers in Houston to walk across the commencement stage. Each semester, there has been a 100 percent placement rate. Richard, for example, had six job offers to consider upon graduation! Since the program started, enrollment has increased by more than 500 percent. And with the city’s hospitality employers hungry to hire qualified graduates, Hilton CollegeSan Antonio is perfectly poised to continue to meet its community’s burgeoning needs!

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LEGACIES MILESTONE ANNIVERSARIES THE HILTON T he Hilton name is known the world over. During the course of the last century, the words “Hilton” and “hotel” have become synonymous. Hilton and “charitable giving” are equally interchangeable. And “hospitality education” will forever be tied to the Hilton name.

In 2019 – this year of milestone anniversary celebrations – a bright light shines on the Hilton name, reflecting the sum of Conrad N. Hilton’s life’s work. Each of his legacies have impacted the world in grandiose ways too infinite to measure. All are indelibly ingrained in our collective consciousness, inextricably linking the man to the brand that has become Hilton.

Hilton established his hotel company, foundation and college within 25 years of the next. Each of the achievements he held dear have played an integral role in the success of the other. As the newest of his enduring legacies, Hilton College has benefited greatly by the continued support of the institutions Conrad Hilton established earlier in his iconic career.

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Prohibition began, the pop-up toaster and rotary-dial telephone were invented, Congress passed the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, and Charlie Chaplin was the celeb du jour. Conrad Hilton was 32 years old and had just purchased his first hotel in Cisco, Texas.

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40 years old and used the fortune he amassed from his hotel empire to establish his foundation. 75 years later, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has distributed more than $1.6 billion in philanthropic grants for the initiatives it supports around the world. Hilton College has been a beneficiary of this generosity with gifts in excess of $85 million to fund and enhance facilities, programs, endowments and scholarships.

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50 YEARS 100 years later, Hilton has grown to 17 brands positioned across more than 5,700 properties in 113 countries and territories. The company has hired thousands of our graduates who work as Hilton Team Members around the world and has gifted more than $1.7 million to support our students through endowed scholarships.

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D-Day Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin the WWII invasion of Europe, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriett” premiered on CBS radio, FDR became the only U.S. president to be elected to a fourth term, and Smokey Bear debuted as spokesman for fire prevention. Conrad Hilton was 57

Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon, more than 400,000 rock-n-roll fans gathered at Woodstock, Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th U.S. president, and the Children’s Television Workshop introduced “Sesame Street.” Conrad Hilton was 82 years old and donated $1.5 million to build the first hospitality school in Texas. 50 years later, Hilton College has graduated more than 8,200 students who work in hospitality leadership positions around the globe. Students both here and abroad continue to be drawn to the UH campus to study at this top-ranked program, and to learn from a diverse faculty world-renowned for their industry experience, expertise and commitment to teaching excellence. By training the next generation of leaders, Hilton College can give back to the industry where Conrad Hilton’s journey began a century ago. His legacy has, indeed, come full circle!

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OUR ALUMNI, A GLOBAL NETWORK OF MORE THAN 8,200 STRONG

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ne of our greatest assets is our alumni network some 8,200 strong. Our alumni hold hospitality leadership positions around the corner, around the country and around the world. This includes everyone from our newest graduates working in entry- and mid-level management positions and those running their own businesses, to our more seasoned alums who are heading up major hospitality brands and calling the shots for multinational companies. Today, our alumni have realized countless career paths and are leading the way in every sector of this exciting diverse global industry that they’ve made their own. Doors around the world open for our graduates. Oftentimes, they hold open those doors for each other. Alums hire alums. Others relish coming back to Career Fair as recruiters to hire our students. They provide internships and serve as mentors. They engage our students through their professional organizations. They appreciate what it’s like to be in our students’ shoes, know the caliber of young leaders who graduate from this College, and are confident in hiring them for their own companies. Our alums make lifelong friendships and have lasting professional bonds. Not only do they stay connected to each other, but they continue to stay engaged at their College by attending our events, volunteering as guest speakers in our classrooms, and serving on our Dean’s Advisory, Eric’s Club and Alumni Association boards. Others are generous donors, while some provide the resources of their companies to benefit our students. It’s a win-win for everyone and together, they are the face of hospitality.

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42 THE DEAN'S ADVISORY COUNCIL – WHERE STUDENTS HAVE A SAY!

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fter Kaitlin Fear learned that Dean Dennis Reynolds was conducting “exit interviews” with top graduating seniors, she wanted in on the conversation. By the time her interview was over, she was the new chair of the first ever Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Council.

The idea for a student sounding board had been on the Dean's mind for some time and, in Kaitlin, he had found his champion. Charged with finding a diverse representation of our student body – from freshmen to seniors – Kaitlin chose seven students to serve with her on the inaugural council. Members Alli Bickett, Kaitlin, Ethan Campbell, Shining Wang, Fredy Romero, vice chair Adria Watson and Sameer Mehta (pictured left to right) met with Dean Reynolds for the first time in August 2016 to discuss what they loved about the College, and what they thought needed change or improvement.

Their agenda resulted in frank and honest discussions about the College’s curriculum, mission, culture and traditions. When Kaitlin graduated in December 2016, she turned over the reins to her vice chair. The council now meets twice a semester, and members are replaced when they graduate. Nothing is off limits, and their actions are speaking even louder than their words. For example, in 2017, the council created a design to convert the underutilized student lounge into the Officers Club, which now serves as a dedicated workspace for the officers of the College’s 13 student organizations. They introduced the new tradition of a student convocation speaker. And in 2018, the council hosted their first highly successful “Hilton Hangout,” a fun, activity-filled social held at the beginning of the fall semester that allowed new students to get to know their peers, as well as faculty and staff. By listening to our students, the College continues to thrive!


TODAY'S PLACEMENT RATE We have great students, great employers and a great placement rate. At 92%, that says it all!

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THE CURTAIN RISES–

OUR NEW CENTER FOR STUDENT SUCCESS

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Over the years, our West Wing has played distinct roles in what could be described as

an ongoing four-act play. Act I takes place in March 1974, when it opens with six shiny new classrooms, a student lounge, and offices for faculty and the associate dean. Act II opens in 1982. During scene 1, Central Administration directs then Dean Gerry Lattin to move our faculty and students out of the West Wing. In Scene 2, the University’s Continuing Education Center, which then shared our classroom and office space in the North Wing, is reassigned to the West Wing. Dramatic Act III premiers 35 years later, when our current dean reclaims the West Wing for an entirely new purpose. Today, the curtain rises on Act IV…

hen Dean Dennis Reynolds took the helm in July 2015, he quickly discovered that our essential student success services were geographically spread throughout the North and South Wings of the College, making it challenging for new students to navigate from enrollment to advising to placement to alumni engagement. To optimize the delivery of these services – and to acquire much needed space – he came up with a plan to create a true integrated student success center. But in order for his plan to work, it meant taking back the West Wing.

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Dean Reynolds presented his plan to Provost Paula Myrick Short, who was in full support of this initiative. Through institutional reorganization, Provost Short facilitated the establishment of the College’s Center for Student Success (CSS). Continuing Education was dissolved in spring 2017 and by the start of the following fall semester, our new Center was opened for business. With the offices of Recruiting and Enrollment, Undergraduate Academic Services, Career Development and, eventually, Alumni Engagement now all under one roof, this “one-stop-shop” has a singular focus and allows


students to easily move from one department to the next to access these key services throughout their entire college career. Relocating offices and bringing HRM students back to the West Wing, however, is just the first page of Dean Reynolds’ script for Act IV. This long anticipated next act puts our $1.2 million renovation of the CSS at center stage. Scene 1… Holly Brooks has just finished reading the College’s Fall 2016/Spring 2017 Dean’s Report, which highlights what Hilton College is doing in the area of student success, the people who are making it happen, and our vision for the future. So impressed was she about all of the great things that had transpired and so excited about our ensuing plans, that she talked to her husband Doug (’75) about getting involved. Really involved. Scene 2… A cold winter’s day in November in New York City, where Dean Reynolds is attending the annual HX: The Hotel Experience 2017. Out of the blue, he receives a phone call from Doug who calls to say he and Holly are ready to make a commitment. Through their family foundation, the Brookses have decided to gift the College $1 million to help make our recently envisioned Center for Student Success a reality. Scene 3… Silence on the Dean’s end of the phone… utterances of disbelief, amazement and gratitude. Holly had been the catalyst for this extraordinary gift from The Holly & Doug Brooks Family Foundation, and now her husband was the Center’s newest champion. In the weeks ahead, Doug – who is a member of Eric’s Club, the UH System Board of Regents and chairs the Dean’s Advisory Board – spearheaded an effort to create a naming opportunity for the Eric Hilton Distinguished Alumni Club. Collectively, under the leadership of Chair Mary Beth Moehring (’80), Eric’s Club pledged more than $250,000. With matching funds from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the total for the Eric’s Club campaign came to $500,000. These gifts, combined with the Brooks’ $1 million donation, gave the College the funds necessary for this critical renovation project as well as reserves for ongoing maintenance. When the build-out is complete, the West Wing will be called the Eric’s Club Center for Student Success. The Brookses could have easily named the Center after their foundation. But Doug is one of Hilton College’s biggest cheerleaders, and it was important to him and Holly that his fellow alums in Eric’s Club be part of this legacy of giving. The generosity of all of these gifts will also serve as a model for the next generation of Eric’s Club members to give back, and communicates to current students what is possible with a Hilton College degree.

Renovation highlights will include a new main entryway that will face the hotel’s courtyard, and a student concierge desk that will anchor the student success offices currently housed within this 5,000-square-foot wing. In addition to the concierge desk, a second “point of arrival” will be our student-run coffee shop. Cougar Grounds, our platform for coffee education, will relocate from the South Wing and have a much larger footprint, allowing for more engaging student barista and customer interaction. As this project comes full circle, Cougar Grounds will be in the exact location of the original student lounge, where Founding Dean James Taylor met weekly with students for coffee. Once an architect and contractor are chosen for both the hotel expansion (see story on page 137) and the West Wing renovation, construction is expected to begin in 2020. To minimize disruption, work for both projects will be done in concert. When renovation is complete in late 2022 through early 2023, the Eric’s Club Center for Student Success will continue to set Hilton College apart from other top hospitality programs. It will embody the importance we place on student success, and its physical foundation will nurture and strengthen the sense of community that has always differentiated us from the rest. There are several scenes from Act IV that have yet to unfold, and excitement is already building for Act V. Encore, encore! The most transformative scenes are yet to be written!

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hen our bright and shiny state-of-the-art student instructional kitchen opened in the new South Wing in March 1989, it was the envy of other hospitality programs across the country. Whereas many colleges used residential products in their student kitchens, our new lab was outfitted with the finest in commercial appliances and equipment – giving our students the benefits of learning in a true commercial foodservice environment. It also featured six individual work stations separated by walls, making it the ideal setting for competing culinary teams to practice. It also had a really cool pizza oven! So exceptional was our first facility that chefs used it for both practice and as an event venue for culinary competitions. Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, for example, hosted their four-state area competitions here. One year, Dean Joe Cioch brought in chefs who were preparing for the Culinary Institute of America’s international competition in Germany – further feeding our reputation as a top hospitality program. The lab’s configuration was also perfect for our standout students preparing for Student Iron Chef competitions. And through the years, the National ProStart Invitational for high school students interested in foodservice careers have been hosted here, too.

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Fast-forward exactly 30 years to March 19, 2019, when our new and improved state-of-the-art Sysco Student Kitchen made its official debut during a special ribbon-cutting and donor recognition open house. This was the first major renovation to our instructional lab since it opened its doors.


KITCHEN Fundraising efforts to replace the lab’s aging equipment and to give the kitchen a much needed facelift began in 2011. Associate Professor Nancy Graves, who was the first on our faculty to teach in the original lab, was called in to consult with the renovation team that included the Worrell Design Group and BRAVE/Architecture. Dr. Graves taught Food Production and Operations – later called Foods I – throughout the 1990s and well into the next decade. Her experience in what worked and what didn’t was invaluable in drafting a conceptual plan and layout that would once again modernize our commercial student kitchen and restore it to its former glory. An essential requirement for the updated lab? An open-kitchen concept where students could see everything with one demonstration instead of six. Cutting-edge equipment that meets today’s industry standards was a given... and a neutral palette. The pistachio-green painted walls added in the early 2000s had to go!

teaching capacity and allows our instructors to broadcast more demonstrations to multiple venues simultaneously for any variety of special events, including cooking demonstrations from guest chefs. Our foods curriculum also continues to evolve to stay in step with the changing trends and needs of the restaurant and foodservice industry. No matter “what’s cookin’” in our kitchen lab, the end goal has always been the same: to provide our students with the skills needed to effectively communicate and manage a kitchen staff in the foodservice side of hospitality. And today, thanks to our donors, we are doing just that in our sleek modern student kitchen!

Once construction and equipment funds were raised and renovation plans finalized, the “extreme makeover” of the foodservice lab began late in 2018. Everything was completely gutted and rebuilt. Whereas once private work stations were considered a plus, today’s model is all about openness for better communication and collaboration between instructors and students. Once again the envy of other programs, our new 1,920-square-foot instructional kitchen features $1.3 million in renovations and top-of-the line commercial appliances and equipment – all thanks to the generous support of the Fred and Mabel R. Parks Foundation, the University of Houston’s Maintenance Project Evaluation Committee and Sysco. Four cooking stations are now positioned in an open space to give it the functionality of an exhibition kitchen. Monitors above each area allow students to receive lectures simultaneously – and remotely – from anywhere in the world. Overhead cameras can also broadcast live events from the kitchen to multiple venues, including the Hilton University of Houston ballrooms. This technology significantly increases

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46 OUR PASSIONATE STUDENTS

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ur students radiate passion – a passion so strong you can feel it. Their passion for hospitality and service, for their school and for their professors and peers is what perpetually distinguishes them from the competition and makes this College shine in the eyes of the industry. It doesn’t matter what path any of our students may take to get here or when they graduate – it’s their common thread of passion that binds them all, and it’s been that way for the last 50 years. This singular quality is what makes our students the very best in the world. Here are the reminiscences of just two of the thousands of personal journeys our students have taken since that very first day of classes on September 16, 1969. One is a graduate from our very first class, the other a senior who graduated in May.

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THE DEFINITIVE COUGAR Bob Planck was one of seven students who graduated with Hilton College’s first Class of 1971. Today, he is president and CEO of the Interconnect

“I initially enrolled at the University of Houston in 1966 as a political science/ pre-law major. Even though I had grown up working in my family’s restaurant, I planned to pursue a life in political office. I worked as a management trainee at Brennan’s Restaurant my freshman year and by the end of my second semester, I realized my passion really was hospitality, and continued to work in restaurants and clubs throughout college. Back then, UH offered a little-known major called Restaurant and Institutional Management, which was part of the Home Economics department. I switched to that major during my sophomore year, but it was another two years before the first class at the new Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management debuted in September of 1969.

I learned about the College from an article featured in The Daily Cougar and signed up immediately, as did some of my fellow restaurant management classmates like Lee Ewing, Eugene Chin, Bill Bennett Jr. and Sharon Suess. On the first day of class, Don Greenaway called the roll and then asked us to step outside the Heyne Building, where classes used to be held, for a group photo. We were joined by Dean Taylor, and I remember thinking that was very odd. Little did I know that photo would chronicle the very start of a great program! I was sworn into the Army in the summer of 1969 – the Vietnam War was ongoing and I had accepted a direct commission to serve stateside in Army hospitals in a foodservice management position after I graduated.

Enterprises. Throughout his illustrious career of nearly 50 years in foodservice, he has remained one of the College’s – and the University’s – most ardent and generous supporters. He is past president of the Hilton

FINDING HER VOICE

College Alumni Association Board, has had a

Adria Watson is one of some 200 students

seat on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the last

who graduated in May during this golden

15 years, and has been active in Eric’s Club for

anniversary year. She is passionate about

the past decade, including a stint as board

her College and this industry and has made

chair. He and his wife Sharron are especially

the very most of her time as a “hospitality

proud to have established and funded the

Cougar.” Her résumé includes leadership roles

Donald Greenaway Excellence in Teaching

for the College’s Hospitality Industry Hall of

Award Endowment and the Bob and Sharron

Honor as the Think Tank manager in 2016

Scholarship Endowment. His résumé on behalf

and general manager in 2017. Last year, she was inducted into Eta Sigma

of UH is duly as impressive. Bob has also been

Delta, was a key volunteer for Gourmet Night, and volunteered for the

recognized with numerous honors, including

Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair. Adria was also part of UH’s Honors College

the Cougar 100 and the UHAA Distinguished

and chaired the Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Council. Coincidently, she

Service Award in 2010. And, a personal point

served on the Dean’s Advisory Board with Bob Planck – Adria as the student

of Cougar pride, he is the only graduate to

representative and Bob as an alum and industry leader.

have known and worked with all seven of our

“Growing up, I had many memorable experiences at resorts, restaurants and weddings, and even collected hotel pens

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and do not disturb signs. But working in hospitality was never on my radar. When it was time to start thinking about colleges,


Before going on active duty, I was in the UH Army ROTC and a member of the precision rifle drill team. Back then, I was never officially classified as an HRM student. Years later, I was given Hilton College alumni status, making me the only former student to have been recognized with both an Honorary and an Alumni of the Year award. I took every class offered, and the experiences I had at the College really ignited my passion and affirmed my decision that I was making the right career choice. I was honored to have been the founding president of our Hotel and Restaurant Management Society – originally the UH Restaurant Management Society – and served for two years. When the University granted us a Student Senate slot in 1970, I was elected as the first HRM student senator.

After graduation, from my earliest days as a young lieutenant, I visited Don (Greenaway) whenever I was in Houston. He was my first HRM teacher, my friend and my finest mentor. Don was a product of the ‘Greatest Generation’ and had even been a bomber pilot in WWII. He had already been president of the National Restaurant Association for many years and was the former director of the Michigan State hospitality program. He was a Renaissance man for our industry and we’d spend hours talking about life and the industry. This relationship, and so many others – like with my brothers at my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon – is what has bonded me to this College and UH for so many years. As a student, I served as president and years later, as national president. It’s a happy coincidence that Conrad Hilton was a TKE brother as well!

I’ve always been a joiner and loved being part of this school and this University. Hilton College represents the interests and career ambitions I had as a young man and it has been a great pleasure being involved and watching its great progress. I believe in its mission and take pride in its unique contributions to the hospitality industry. Both the College and the University have been my passion and a great source of pride and joy – all of my experiences here are very dear to me and so intertwined with my life that I will always answer the call, whenever I am needed. Even in my advancing years, many of my best friends are people who I knew through my time as a student here. And my entire immediate family all hold UH degrees and share my love of this University. Being an alumnus of the Hilton College is being a part of a forever family. Go Coogs!! ”

– Robert D. “Bob” Planck (‘71) I really had no idea what I wanted to do. So, I decided a degree in business would be a safe and practical choice. My mom is a college advisor and was familiar with the University of Houston. She encouraged me to go to the Hilton College’s Fall Recruiting Blitz. I remember sitting in the Waldorf-Astoria Ballroom and looking at the list of classes the recruiters had handed out – they looked like so much fun! In that moment, I just knew I was supposed to be a student here. I was excited and interested, and studying hospitality just didn’t seem like it would be work for me. I mean coffee and wine tastings? Does it get any better than that?! Throughout my college career I’ve had the best experiences! But initially, I was pretty quiet and shy – I had to push myself to get involved and take advantage of every opportunity I could. Everyone here is so passionate and I’ve been blessed to interact and form relationships with so many amazing people that it would have been impossible not to get involved. My second week of classes, I went to the Student Organization Fair and signed up for CMAA and the Houston Spa Association – these were the sectors

of the industry I was interested in, so I got involved with these chapters right away. As a freshman, I volunteered to be a key volunteer in HR for the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor. I loved it so much and was encouraged to apply for the student management team. I made it – two years in a row! It was so cool seeing our entire college come together as one for this event. The energy and excitement of hospitality was truly introduced to me that first night. And, being able to lead as a student was an incredibly formative experience that I’ll always remember. Some of my favorite memories have been the tours, dinners and events I’ve volunteered for that have exposed me to different facets of the industry. I’ve especially enjoyed being involved in the CMAA’s BMI Food & Beverage Week, where the College hosts club professionals for a week of F&B education around Houston. This experience and the connections I’ve made have been invaluable. I love this industry so much that I want to do it all! I haven't figured out what my dream job is yet because I still have so much to learn and experience. For this next year, I will be spending time in Asia. Whatever path I choose when

I get back, I hope to become a great mentor and manager like those who have guided and mentored me. I want to do my part to instill in others a love and passion for hospitality and serving others. This College has allowed me to grow, to be confident in my choices, to take chances and to gain hands-on leadership experience. I’ve found my voice – and my passion. I don’t think I could have realized my full potential at any other school. Everyone is rooting for you – and it’s not just the faculty and staff, it’s other students, too! It’s competitive here sure, but we’re a community. We support each other, we are happy for each other’s successes, and we’re passionate about our school and our industry. I know I need to graduate, but I really don’t want to leave the Hilton! But I’m not leaving leaving – I will only be leaving as a student. Hilton College is really a unique and special place, but it’s the people here who have made my experiences so extraordinary. We really are hospitality and I always want to be a part of that!”

– Adria Watson (’19)


47 BLONDE ALE HEFEWEIZEN PALE ALE IPA AMBER ALE RED ALE BROWN ALE

WHAT’S ON TAP? A NEW BREWPUB AND FERMENTATION LAB!

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fter Barron’s Restaurant closed in 2017 due to the need for extensive kitchen upgrades, rumors started brewing that in its place would be a new student brewpub – complete with a state-of-the-art fermentation lab. Additionally, one of the project options for HRM and architecture students taking Dr. Nancy Graves’ popular Restaurant Layout and Design class has been to design a brewpub for the Barron’s space. In the last three years, her classes have come up with a dozen or so plans that incorporate some kind of focal display of the fermentation tanks and equipment so that customers can watch the beer-making process. A second class called Brewpub Development was also recently created to elicit students’ creativity. This one-time, two-semester elective gave students the chance to take a fresh look at this project by creating menus, design concepts, a training and operations manual, and even a name for a brewpub they’d like to see on campus. To lend more credence to the rumor, lecturer Aaron Corsi (’09, MS ’11) – who just happens to be the co-founder and brewmaster of 8th Wonder Brewery – partnered with lecturer Reba Haskell to teach the class. Haskell brought 20 years of experience with Pappas Restaurants to the discussion. Whether preordained or just wishful thinking, a new brewpub and fermentation lab really is on tap!

This pivotal addition will be a differentiating factor and another jewel in the crown of our Beverage Management Program. The brewpub will take the footprint currently occupied by our Cougar Grounds coffee shop and Barron’s Restaurant. When Cougar Grounds relocates to the West Wing and full funding for the project has been secured, the build-out will begin. The College is also working closely with Aramark on logistics and to secure the liquor licensing required to operate a full-service brewpub. Once an architect for the project has been chosen, the parameters for the space and the concepts developed by our students will be passed on for inspiration. An estimated $1 million is needed to build out the space and another $500,000 is required for equipment and furnishings. Naming opportunities are available for this project. Students from our Brewpub Development class have offered up two very interesting “naming opportunities.” The first is Highway G, spelled “HWY G” for Hops, Water, Yeast and Grain. The other is “The Book Club,” so that when parents receive their credit card bills, they’ll think their students are buying books! There is certainly time to let these ideas ferment. And, if all goes as anticipated, our new student “Book Club” – no matter what it’s called – is some 18 months to two years out.


48 A GAME-CHANGING HOTEL EXPANSION

IT’S HAPPENING!

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ean Dennis Reynolds could barely contain his exuberance when he shared the news that the University of Houston System Board of Regents had just approved a $30.4 million revenue bond to fund the expansion and renovation of the Hilton University of Houston. When he presented the College’s game-changing proposal to the regents, it was a unanimous and resounding “Yes!” Not since the original University of Houston Hotel opened in 1974 has there been this much excitement and anticipation for a building project. Hilton College is the only hospitality program in the world where students work – and take classes – in an internationally branded, full-service hotel. Roughly 70 percent of our hotel team members are students. With more rooms, there is more opportunity. Whether it’s managing room service requests or learning to properly clean rooms, this expansion project will dramatically enhance our students’ hands-on learning experience.

will be removed to create much needed executive meeting space. The hotel’s existing 80 guest rooms in its North Wing will undergo renovations, along with its lobby and public spaces. The adjacent courtyard between the North, South and West Wings will also receive a facelift. This expansion will allow the hotel to better serve business clients, including those from the University of Houston, with increased meeting and event spaces. Even though our existing hotel has 25,000 square feet of meeting space, the constraint of having only 86 guest rooms has made our Hilton hotel an anomaly in the marketplace – there just isn’t the capacity to accommodate overnight stays for large parties who come in for weddings and conferences. Because we will soon operate in a manner more typical of a full-service non-teaching hotel, our new 150-room hotel will provide a more realistic learning environment for our students. And it will also allow us to accommodate more of everything!

Preliminary plans include the addition of a five-story tower consisting of 70 guest rooms, increasing the hotel’s total number of rooms to 150. According to the industry, 150 rooms is the “sweet spot” for a college campus hotel in an urban setting.

The wheels are in motion and the projected completion of the hotel tower and North Wing renovations is late 2022 through early 2023. This expansion is our future. It could not be more fitting for this bond approval to coincide with our 50th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of Hilton. Truly transformational news as we celebrate these historic milestones!

In addition to the guest tower, six suites on the South Wing’s second floor

Let the first chapter of our 51st year begin!

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oy! Pure unbridled joy! No matter when or where our commencement ceremonies have taken place, our students are always on a high come graduation day. The music is cued and the touching notes of “Pomp and Circumstance” signals the spirited procession. Their hopes and dreams, ambitions and hard work have all led to this moment. Speeches are given, names read, tassels turned and with whoops and hollers, victorious fist pumps and the widest grins, they can finally call themselves Hilton College grads!

This wave of exhilaration follows them to the reception, where friends and loved ones, faculty and staff are waiting to share in their glory, excitement, and the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that go hand-in-hand with realizing, “They did it!” All are there to witness and soak it all in – to share in the happiness and pride and to commemorate this milestone. They pose for pictures, raise glasses and revel in heart-felt hugs and laudatory words of congratulations. When that last champagne cork has been popped, our newly minted graduates have the confidence of knowing that they are well prepared to begin their careers and to take their rightful place in the industry. They will set forth on their next journey, knowing that they are forever a part of the Hilton College legacy of spreading the light of hospitality across the world. Coogs forever they will be!

GRADUAT


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Our vision for tomorrow is crystal clear... to lead the future of hospitality education and research. It’s no coincidence that this year we’ve launched a new, extremely innovative curriculum, which includes increasing the undergraduate work-experience requirement to 1,000 hours. In addition, our impressive job-placement rate of 92 percent, record-setting research productivity (up 81 percent since 2013), 100-percent placement of our first cohort of doctoral students, and positive financial performance year after year have provided Hilton College an incredibly solid platform on which to reach even greater heights in the next 50 years. By early 2023, we will see the expansion and renovation of our Hilton University of Houston. With funding already secured, our guests and students – through their course projects – will be the first to experience the impressive innovations afforded by this hotel of the future. And the growth doesn’t stop there! Our Eric’s Club Center for Student Success will be entirely redesigned to live up to its name, complete with the relocation of our Cougar Grounds coffee shop – the coolest, hippest student-operated hangout on campus and maybe even in the country. The pièce de résistance? Our new brewpub that is scheduled to open along with our new hotel tower! All the exciting steps our College has taken in the name of excellence underscore my maxim that I prefer to talk about what we’ve done or what we’re doing, rather than what we’re going to do. As we open the door of opportunity to our next 50 years, I need to make an exception to that rule and share three things that are paramount to keeping our vision in focus:  International internship opportunities for every student, replete with funding for travel. While we now require an internship for graduation, allowing our students to gain experience in all corners of the world puts them a step ahead to lead this global industry.  A 100-percent graduation rate. Our rate is admirable relative to other hospitality programs, but we can do better. This is the Holy Grail of higher education, and we are headed in the right direction.  Financial independence from the state. This has never been done at the University of Houston, and I want the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management to be the first. Let’s dare to dream BIG! We are where we are today because of the collective efforts of a very cohesive leadership team. Moreover, we have the best faculty, staff, students, alumni and industry partners in all of hospitality education. And we are afforded amazing support from the University administration, which has been pivotal in advancing our goals and what will be crucial in fulfilling our vision. Now that you know our top 50 reasons why “We are Hospitality,” I hope you have a deeper understanding of all that defines us. In our first 50 years, we’ve come so far and, thanks to you, I’m privileged to have the best job in the world. My hope is that you will want to be – and continue to be – a part of all that lies ahead. Our future is, indeed, gloriously bright! To the next 50 years!

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DEBRA KAY MAURER

Writer & Editor in Chief

Debbie is a proud Texas Longhorn, but we hired her anyway! She joined the College in October 2005 as the founding director of communications and was the driving force behind this golden anniversary project. Without her institutional knowledge, meticulosity

ABOUT OUR

CREATIVE TEAM

and propensity to sit up half the night – month after month – writing and rewriting, this book may never have seen the light of day. Debbie has served on the Gourmet Night executive team since 2007, when Board Chairman Charles Dorn found a typo in his invitation and insisted she get involved. She loves working with the event’s student managers and when asked to dress to theme, she takes the invitation quite seriously! Her portrayals of the Queen of Hearts and Titania, Queen of the Fairies were noteworthy, but it was her Oz-some transformation into her alter ego – the Wicked Witch of the West – for There’s No Place Like Home in 2013 that is the stuff of legends! When she’s not marathon writing or managing any number of other College marketing projects, Debbie loves melting into a puddle of sweat in her hot yoga classes. She also tries to steal away

PEARL K. CAJOLES

Assistant Managing Editor, Photographer & Contributing Writer

Pearl knew she wanted to be a journalist at eight years old, after she began drinking coffee and reading the daily paper with her father at the breakfast table. Her love of photography was also instilled in elementary school, after spending one fateful summer away from the city with her grandparents at a small, no-stoplight town near the water in Jimenez, Philippines. After discovering volumes upon volumes of her grandfather’s old National Geographic magazines, she took a break from climbing trees and building sandcastles to page through every issue. She was hooked! After studying journalism at the University of St. Thomas, Pearl went on to become a writer and copy editor for the Houston Chronicle. In March 2016, after seven years in the newspaper business, she turned to the “dark side” and joined the College as our manager of digital marketing. Trading in newsroom drip coffee for gourmet espresso at Cougar Grounds, she also had to get her head around using extra adjectives, italics and adding exclamation points to her articles – something that literally used to make her cringe during her newspaper days. No puff pieces for this AP Style devotee! Pearl’s talents as a journalist, editor and photographer have been a huge asset in producing this book, and it’s been a happy surprise for her to realize that there really is truth in PR and marketing! Once she’s told the College’s stories through her photos, our e-newsletter and social media, this mother of five retreats to suburbia for baking marathons, racquetball sessions, and all sorts of weekend adventures with her big beautiful family.

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for long weekends in Denver to visit her magical precocious granddaughter, Maebe, who is the only one who truly melts her wicked heart.


KATIE GUIDROZ

Art and Creative Director & Senior Graphic Designer She’s our Cre-ART-ive manager, and her vision has brought this anniversary book to life! By using her crystal clear intuition, Katie enters a portal of sunshine and rainbows that feeds her creative imagination. When she emerges, her ideas are brilliantly out of this world! This comes as no surprise, considering Katie was born with art in her veins. As a baby, she enjoyed dividing her Fruit Loops into colors more than she did eating them. That’s when her mother knew she would one day grow up to be an artist. After leaving her hometown in Junction to study graphic design at Texas Tech University, Katie started her career at the Houston Chronicle, first as intern and all the way up to art director. Then, destiny brought her to Hilton College in January 2012. As soon as she arrived, she had fun making her mark in every corner of the College – from our walls, to our digital signage and to every piece of printed material that comes out of our communications office. And, her spiritual side has guided our team to pour just the right amount of heart into every aspect of this project. When she isn’t spreading good vibes and leaving trails of her masterful aesthetic at the College, Katie is a super cool mom to daughter, Violet, who has clearly inherited her artistic spirit. At five years old, Violet is already a painting prodigy in training! When you see Katie’s own paintings, with several adding color to her office walls, you’ll never have to wonder where Violet

NICOLE OLAVARRIA-KEY

Graduate Assistant & Contributing Graphic Designer

Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, Nicole almost became a dentist to follow in the family trade, but her creative soul had other ideas. In high school, her science teachers joked that she would be better off in humanities! So, she moved to New York City to study communications design at the discerning Pratt Institute, but not before spending time in Miami and Paris to explore some of her loves – food, people and the outdoors. In 2018, she decided her next city would be Houston, after being accepted into our Graduate Program. How does an artist end up studying food & beverage? After all her travels – she’s also lived in Amsterdam – Nicole has learned that sharing a meal has the power of bringing people together, no matter where they come from. And, she grew up with the kind of cooking that nourishes the soul… her mother’s food tastes like LOVE! After the universe brought her to our communications department, Nicole found a way to blend her passion for hospitality and art. And, because the creative process – including designing this book – also has its own way of forging bonds, Nicole has found an extended family of kindred spirits. Though she isn’t yet sure about her next destination after graduation, Nicole will bring with her just the right amount of magnetism and strength. She’s a believer of unicorns and rainbows, and of light and love – but don’t be fooled – her ethereal outlook is backed with a black belt in martial arts!

H I L T O N

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Profile for Hilton College - University of Houston

Celebrating 50 Reasons We Are Hospitality  

When Conrad Hilton donated his $1.5 million naming gift to establish the Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management on Octob...

Celebrating 50 Reasons We Are Hospitality  

When Conrad Hilton donated his $1.5 million naming gift to establish the Conrad N. Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management on Octob...

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