East Lansing May 2009 - Despite rain and grey skies, spirits
were high and happy on Saturday, May 8, as spring graduates of The School
and their families enjoyed a celebratory graduation luncheon at the University
Club of MSU, hosted by The School and its student Hospitality Association.
Mike and his staff members are deeply involved in the community, working
with the United Way, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Ele’s Place
for grieving children. He serves on the Board of the Lansing Convention
and Visitors Bureau and the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association.
Mike has also been a very active member of The School’s Alumni Association
Board of Directors for 11 years, and was honored the association’s Emerging
Alumnus Leader of the Year in 2004.
Word about the annual graduation celebration seems to have spread over
the years, so that this spring a record number of graduates and their guests
attended. Over 325 filled the main dining room of the University
Club, where “hospitality” truly was the theme. And while a worldwide
concern about a possible outbreak of “swine flu” prevented any form of
human contact at the formal Michigan State University commencement ceremonies,
The School’s celebrations came complete with handshakes and hugging!
After welcomes from Director of the Student and Industry Resource Center
“SIRC” Authella Collins Hawks and Director and Professor Dr. Ron Cichy
(BA ’72, MBA ’77), Alumnus Mike Rice (BA ’91) provided the graduation “keynote
Mike has been general manager of the Quality Suites Hotel in Lansing
since 2002, where the property has been certified as a Green Lodging Steward
by the State of Michigan’s Energy Office and was awarded the 2009 Platinum
Award by Choice Hotels International. Only the top 3% of over 5,000
hotels are recognized in this way for their excellence in facilities, service,
Mike’s hotel is ranked number one out of all the Lansing-area hotels
(and fifth in the entire state!) by TripAdvisor.com, a consumer-driven
website for hotel reviews.
Tabitha Lesh and Reece Jahn
Mike read from his undergraduate diary, recalling events from his own
undergraduate years that are familiar even to the new graduates.
He spoke of favorite professors (yes, they are still teaching!), homecoming,
and Les Gourmets.
Then he discussed his “Bridges of Hospitality County,” what he has
learned over the years which might be helpful for them to think about as
they enter their careers. His bridges include:
Mike encouraged the brand-new alumni to stay in touch with their School,
and get involved in the Alumni Association.
Earning respect is directly proportional to how well you listen, your ability
to coach, and how often you get your hands dirty.
When managing others, touch a heart before you ask for a hand.
You should never upset the controller, and never, ever upset the chef!
When starting a new job, don’t make a contribution to your employer; make
Ask your manager or owner for a new project, even when your plate is full.
Make every decision as if you owned the business where you work.
It is not enough to satisfy your customers; you must delight them.
If you can’t excel with talent, then you must triumph with preparation
People who admit they’re wrong go further than people who try to prove
There are differences between being a “boss” and being a “leader.”
A boss drives, but a leader coaches. A boss relies on authority,
but a leader will inspire authority. A boss says, “I,” but a leader
says, “we.” A boss fixes blame, but a leader fixes problems.
A boss knows, but a leader shows. A boss says, “go,” but a leader
says, “let us go.”
Outgoing President of the Hospitality Association Tabitha Lesh (BA
’09), herself a new graduate, gave the HA farewell. She outlined
what makes up a Spartan:
Tabitha was later awarded the female Outstanding Student and Leader Award
(OSLA), and outgoing Vice President of Alumni Relations for HA, Reece Jahn
(BA ’09) was award the male OSLA. Dr. Jeff Elsworth, associate professor
of Hospitality Business Entrepreneurship, earned the Outstanding Faculty
Member award. All three awards were voted on by members of the Class
The brain . . . because Spartans realize that while grades are important,
so are the life lessons learned outside the classroom.
The ears. . . because when a Spartan hears, “you can’t,” they simply hear,
The eyes. . . because Spartans have to wear sunglasses even at night, “because
our futures are so bright.”
The back . . . because while Spartans carry the weight of the world on
their backs, they also know how to set work aside and make time for play.
The heart. . . the most important part of a Spartan, because they are true
to the core and full of inspiration; selfless and kind to others.
Finally, all graduates had the chance to stand and give their names
and hometowns, receive a small gift from the Hospitality Association, and
take a photo with School Director Cichy.
The graduation luncheon provided an intimate farewell in an elegant
setting for each of The School’s newest Alumni.
About The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University
Recognized as the top-ranked hospitality business school in the world,
The School celebrates its 82nd year anniversary in 2009. The
School has more than 9,000 graduates worldwide, including a number of leading
academicians and industry executives, who have earned both undergraduate
and graduate degrees. Founded in 1927, the mission of The School
is to continually enhance The School's leadership position in hospitality
business education through teaching, research, and service. The School
offers an exceptionally well-crafted curriculum, taught by innovative professors
who are leading textbook authors, sought-after consultants, and respected
researchers. The mission of The School of Hospitality Business Alumni
Association is to provide active leadership in support of the mission of
The School of Hospitality Business through membership participation, image
enhancement, financial commitment, and promotion of synergies among students,
faculty, alumni, and friends. The First, The Original, and STILL
The Leader. . . The School of Hospitality Business. For more information,
please visit http://www.bus.msu.edu/shb/