Hotel Online  Special Report

Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management to Honor Seven Top Executives
from the U.S. and Italy


Niagara University, N.Y. (Sept. 27, 2004) – Seven top executives from the U.S. and Italy who have made outstanding contributions in the hospitality, tourism, restaurant or professional sports industries will be honored at Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s fourth annual convocation on Nov. 4.

The event will be held at the university’s Alumni Chapel at 4 p.m., with a reception following afterward on the fourth floor of St. Vincent’s Hall, the home of the college. The event is sponsored by the Maid of the Mist Corp.

The honoree list includes an impressive cadre of visionary leaders. 

Niagara University alumnus Paul M. McManus, ’65 , president and CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd., and Richard Snead, president and CEO of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., will accept Company of the Year Awards. 

Dr. Jean-Marc Droulers, president and CEO of Villa d’Este Co., will be on hand to receive the Lifetime Hotelier Achievement Award. 

Two prominent industry leaders from northern Italy, Marco Citterio and Luca Leoni, will receive Industry/Education Leadership Awards. One of the most influential business leaders in Italy, Citterio is president of the 11 chambers of commerce in the state of Lombardy, Italy’s industrial heartland. Leoni is president of the Lake Como Hotel Association. 

Paul P. Verciglio, general manager of the Park Hyatt Toronto will receive the Rabbi Porrath Visionary Award, named after the founder of Niagara University’s Institute of Transportation, Travel and Tourism, the precursor of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. 

And Pat Williams, senior executive vice president of the Orlando Magic/RDV Sports, the National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise in Orlando, Fla., will accept the Lifetime Sport Achievement Award.

According to Dr. Gary Praetzel, dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, the Leading Hotels of the World Ltd. and Carlson Restaurants Worldwide have been “the two greatest corporate supporters of the college.” 

The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd. (LHW) is a luxury marketing organization that represents 425 of the finest five-star hotels and resorts in more than 70 countries around the world. Under the leadership of Paul McManus, the organization has worked closely with Niagara’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management to create unique educational opportunities that have positioned the college as a worldwide leader in hospitality and tourism education. A member of Niagara’s board of trustees and the recipient of an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the college’s convocation in 2002, McManus helped orchestrate the college’s signature student exchange program in Lake Como, Italy. This summer, the program was launched when a group of Niagara’s students worked abroad at luxury properties in Lake Como to learn about superior service levels and to experience total cultural immersion. In exchange, students from the newly established tourism program at the University of Insubria in Lake Como are studying at Niagara’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management this fall. 

The Leading Hotels of the World also participated in a joint venture between 


Paul M. McManus

Richard Snead

Dr. Jean-Marc Droulers

Marco Citterio

Luca Leoni

Paul P. Verciglio

Pat Williams
Niagara University and the Hotel School The Hague to create The Leading Hotel Schools of the World. Founded in 2002, this organization is an international network of leading hospitality and tourism programs worldwide. “Membership in this network means internships and job placements at the best properties around the globe for our students,” noted Dr. Praetzel. “It also means that the Leading Hotels of the World works directly with our college for management education and training programs. Currently, we provide a program on leadership for Leading Hotels of the World managers and are developing a similar program for executive management. This opportunity has enabled us to round out our program by providing hospitality and tourism education for students seeking a career in hospitality and for industry managers who wish to continue their education.”

Like the organization he heads, McManus has achieved world-class distinction in the industry. He joined The Leading Hotels of the World Ltd. in 1992 as vice president of marketing before assuming his current post in 1998. He earlier served in a number of top sales and marketing positions with Regent International Hotels, Rockresorts, Princess Hotels International, The St. Regis, The Waldorf-Astoria and Reservation Systems Inc.

Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc. is a global restaurant company that is divided into three divisions: T.G.I. Friday’s U.S.A. (T.G.I. Friday’s, Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill and Friday’s American Bar); T.G. I. Friday’s International (T.G.I. Friday’s, Friday’s American Bar and Front Row Sports Grill); and Pick Up Stix, a leader in the fast-casual segment. Carlson Restaurants, included in the Carlson Hospitality Worldwide division of Carlson Companies Inc., operates, franchises and licenses 825 restaurants in 55 countries. Carlson Restaurants Worldwide is a privately held company owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson Companies Inc., a world leader in the hospitality, travel and marketing industries. Headquartered in Dallas, Tex., Carlson Restaurants Worldwide opened its first first T.G. I. Friday’s restaurant in New York City 39 years ago. 

To date, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide has reached more than $2 billion in system-wide sales under the leadership of Richard Snead, president and CEO. Snead has championed the revitalization of the T.G. I. Friday’s brand, including new restaurant design and advertising and increased participation in the global market. Under his direction, T. G. I. Friday’s has become the first casual-dining restaurant chain to partner with Atkins Nutritionals Inc. to provide low-carb meals to those customers who prefer a low-carb lifestyle.

Prior to his assuming his current post, Snead served as president of the international division of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, creating an era of  international growth with the addition of restaurants in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe. He earlier served in top executive positions with Casual Corner Group Inc., Lenscrafters and Burger King Corp. 

According to Travel & Leisure Magazine, Gourmet Magazine, the Conde Nast Traveler Magazine and the Hideaway Report, Dr. Jean-Marc Droulers is at the helm of the number one hotel in Italy. He is the president and CEO of the Villa d’Este Company, a family-run business that includes Italy’s premiere hotel, the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este in Cernobbio. This hotel and its restaurant have been rated number one in Europe and number one in the world by a number of travel and tourism sources. Other hotels in the Villa d’Este Company include the Villa La Massa in Florence and the Hotel Barchetta Excelsior in Como.

Built in 1568, the Villa d’Este was first owned by Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, then by a succession of Italian royalty. In 1873, the villa was transformed into a hotel. In the 1960s, Dr. Drouler’s father, Marc Droulers, planned modern innovations such as the hotel’s floating swimming pool on Lake Como and the property’s Sporting Club. 

“Our philosophy at Villa d’Este,” said Dr. Droulers, “is that a hotel is not just a place to sleep and eat along the journey. It has to be a way of life itself. We are concerned not just with the comfort of the body, but of the mind and heart as well. We want to look after every need of the discerning traveler today, yet retain the discreet allure of a private, patrician villa where our guests feel treasured in the old-fashioned way. That is the future.”

A former member of the board of the Leading Hotels of the World, Dr. Droulers became president and CEO of the Villa d’Este in 1976. A world-renowned hotel that attracts so many celebrities it is known as “Hollywood on Lake Como,” the hotel serves as a five-star training ground for Niagara University interns who seek careers in the hospitality industry. According to Dr. Praetzel, Niagara’s cooperation with the University of Insubria was brought about due to the efforts of Dr. Droulers, who wanted the University of Insubria’s new hospitality and tourism program to be modeled on the practical industry applications focus of NU’s program. Dr. Droulers collaborated with Dr. Praetzel and Paul McManus to help the two universities launch their student exchange program.

Recipients of Niagara’s prestigious Industry/Education Leadership Awards, Marco Citterio and Luca Leoni both serve as presidents of top industry associations in Italy. 

In his position as president of Unioncamere Lombardia, Citterio oversees 11 chambers of commerce in the state of Lombardy, a thriving center of business and commerce. The organization has more than 900,000 corporate members representing 4,500,000 employees. 

Citterio earlier served as president of the Univercomo, an organization responsible for strengthening the universities in the region. He also previously was president of the chamber of commerce of the province of Como. He earlier worked in a number of executive positions dealing with economics, the environment, information technology, foreign commerce, and native crafts. Because tourism is a major industry in Lombardy, Citterio is committed to helping the University of Insurbria’s new hospitality program, and he supports its exchange program with Niagara University. Under his leadership, Unioncamere Lombardia is offering financial support to the students from the University of Insubria who are studying at NU this fall.

“Marco Citterio and Luca Leoni helped make our student-exchange program with the University of Insubria and the Lake Como hotels possible,” noted Dr. Praetzel. “Marco Citterio, Luca Leoni and Dr. Droulers all have one thing in common,” he added. “They want to see an Italian higher education system in which industry and education work seamlessly together rather than apart, which has been more the tradition in Italy. Thanks to their assistance, we are also working on creating a sister-city relationship between Niagara Falls and Lake Como, Italy.” 

Leoni is the owner of the family-run Hotel Du Lac, a 39-room property that was restored and operated by his parents beginning in 1956. Leoni also operates the newly opened Hotel Bellagio and the Bellagio Sporting Club. His philosophy is to do everything possible to make his guests want to return, and to make his employees want to stay. 

As president of the Lake Como Hotel Association representing over 100 hotels in the Lake Como region, he collaborates with local, regional and national marketing agencies throughout Italy to promote the Village of Bellagio, as well as his properties. Leoni has also traveled throughout Europe and the U.S. to promote Lake Como as a year-round tourism destination. He works closely with the tourism program at the University of Insubria in Como and with the area’s secondary schools to promote careers in the hospitality and tourism industry.

An advisory council member of Niagara’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Paul Verciglio has served as general manager of the luxury Park Hyatt in downtown Toronto since the Hyatt Corp. purchased the property in 1999. This April, he was awarded the coveted Hotelier Gold Award by the Ontario Hostelry Institute at its annual Gold Awards Dinner, an event that honors the best in Ontario’s hospitality industry.

Verciglio has provided outstanding service to the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management since the 1980s. He has served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer and helped establish the college’s annual management career fair. In his role as general manager of the five-star Park Hyatt, he sponsors an annual two-day shadowing experience for 30 of the college’s students at the luxury property. 

“Paul created this program for one reason,” noted Dr. Praetzel. “As a native of the area, he knows we don’t have any five-star properties in the immediate area and wanted our students to experience what such a property is like so they can aspire to greater things in their own careers. The staff is responsive and accommodating to our students, enabling them to have a better grasp of job opportunities in the industry.”

Considered one of the country’s premiere motivational and humorous speakers, Pat Williams of the Orlando Magic is widely recognized throughout the sports world as a top promoter and astute talent scout. He has also authored and co-authored more than 30 books offering inspiration, insight and wit. Before assuming his current post as senior executive vice president, Williams was the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers for 12 years. Prior to that, he was general manager for the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls. He also served as business manager for the 76ers in 1968. Earlier in his career he was a catcher for the Class-A Miami Marlins. He later moved into baseball management, serving as president and general manager of the Spartanburg South Carolina Phillies. 

An avid runner, Williams was voted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame, is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame, and holds a doctorate in humane letters from Flagler University. He is also the father of 19 children, 14 of whom are adopted from South Korea, Brazil, Romania and the Philippines.


College of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Dr. Gary Praetzel, Dean 
(716) 286-8272

Also See: Five Tourism Industry Leaders Honored by Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management / Oct 2002
Curtis Nelson, President and CEO of Carlson Hospitality, Awarded Honorary Degree by Niagara's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management / May 2002
Michael A. Leven, John Homik and Mario P. Perillo Honored by College of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Niagara University / November 2001

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