Hotel Online Special Report

 L. Robert Payne and Norman Brinker Provide Significant 
Funding to San Diego State University's Hospitality and 
Tourism Management Program
New SDSU Program Serves Tourism Industry

October 4, 2001 - Although tourism has declined in recent weeks, the need for management talent in the industry will persist, according to Carl Winston, director of the new hospitality and tourism management program at San Diego State University.

“SDSU is redefining the traditional hotel and restaurant school,” noted Winston, adding, “Hospitality is much broader than just hotels and restaurants.”

“San Diego is an incredible living laboratory,” Winston added. “Our curriculum will reflect the depth and breadth of the industry. We have high rise hotels, luxury resorts, attractions like Sea World and the Zoo, and industries that support tourism such as shuttles and parking services. Not to mention airlines and even the military, which houses and feeds thousands of people daily.”
Leaders in the local tourism and hospitality industry were instrumental in the HTM program’s development from the start. An influential advisory board helped shape the curriculum and “we listened carefully to their advice,” Winston said.

The curriculum complements academics with practical experience. Students first take business courses such as accounting, marketing, business law, human resources, finance, organizational development, and business communication. Students then select a concentration in one of four career fields: hotel operations and management; restaurant operations and management; attractions, events and convention management; or global tourism. They also complete an internship working for a full-service hotel as well as a senior project internship related to their field of interest.

Industry leaders also have supported the program with funding. A $1.1 million gift in 1999 from SDSU alumnus L. Robert Payne provided the seed money to launch the program and propel a $10 million, five-year campaign to fund it.  Payne, principal owner of the San Diego Mission Valley Hilton and Hanalei Hotels, said his contribution would challenge others in the industry to step forward and “ensure we are building a nationally competitive program, one that will respond to our need for management talent.”

That challenge has already paid off. Payne paved the way for a gift from another SDSU alumnus, Norman Brinker. Brinker, who now lives in Dallas, just pledged $1 million to endow an executive-in-residence program for HTM. 
Brinker is chairman emeritus of Brinker International, the world’s premiere multi-concept casual dining restaurant company. Their restaurants include Chili’s Grill and Bar, On the Border Mexican Café and many others in 47 states and 20 countries. He is considered the innovator of the “all-you-can-eat” salad bar concept.

Other major donors to the HTM program include the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Town & Country Resort Hotel, California Restaurant Association, Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Delaware North Companies, Inc., and San Diego Convention & Visitor’s Bureau.

“Private funding will help us make HTM one of the country’s top programs,” said Winston. Not only will we produce future leaders in hospitality and tourism, the industry will be able to take advantage of our research, consulting, seminars and executive education.”

Winston most recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Trigild Corp., a property management company with a variety of hospitality businesses, mainly hotels and restaurants. His experience in hospitality goes back much further, however, as he literally grew up in the restaurant business.

“My mother managed Ondine restaurant in Sausalito and I started out washing dishes when I just a kid,” Winston said. He continued to wait tables in other restaurants as he worked his way through college, which resulted in a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego, and a master’s degree in hotel administration from Cornell University.

Winston has worked in nearly every aspect of the visitor industry while operating hotels, restaurants, and amusement parks. He brings a passion for the industry to his new position at SDSU, where he will grow a program that has already taken root in the community.



Shelley Herron
Director of Communications
College of Business Administration 
San Diego State University
San Diego, California 92182-8230
(619) 594-4501 / Fax: (619) 594-1573
[email protected]

Also See New Profit Center Potential for Colleges and Universities - the Development of Hotels and Conference Centers on Campus / Pinnacle Advisory Group / July 2001 
TIM School Newsletter - University of Hawai‘i School of Travel Industry Management / July 2001  

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