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Celebration of Excellence to Honor Distinguished
CHA and MHS Designees

September 4, 2008 - The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (EI) will revive a long-standing tradition when it hosts the Celebration of Excellence breakfast for Certified Hotel Administrators and Master Hotel Suppliers on Monday, November 10, 2008, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the American Hotel & Lodging Association Fall Conference in New York. 

The Celebration of Excellence is open to hospitality executives, academics, and suppliers who hold the professional designations of Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) and Master Hotel Supplier (MHS). During the breakfast, select individuals will be honored as CHA and MHS Emeritus.

“This celebration recognizes the importance of professional certification in the hospitality industry and gives us an opportunity to honor those people who have distinguished themselves in their hospitality careers and shown a dedication to the goals of professional certification,” said Barbara Blankenship, EI’s senior director of professional certification. 

EI began honoring those who had earned the Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) designation in 1981, when the first CHA banquet was held in Hawaii. At the banquet, all those who had earned the CHA in the previous year were called to the stage and presented with their certificates. 

“In those early years, it was a simple affair,” remembered Dr. Ronald F. Cichy, CHA, who earned his CHA in 1983. “As we had more and more people earn the certification, it became a very big event.”   

Cichy, professor and director of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University, served director of educational services for the Educational Institute from 1984 to 1988. Later, he served as chair of EI’s certification commission for nine years. 

“The banquet was a swanky affair; people wore tuxedos and we had musical entertainment,” he recalled. “It was very emotional, too. People would get teary-eyed when they came on stage to get their certificate. They might not have graduated from college, but here they were receiving this huge industry honor.” 

When the Master Hotel Supplier certification was introduced, those designees were also invited to the recognition ceremony. 

“It was a public affirmation of what certification was all about,” said Cichy.  

The Educational Institute first awarded the CHA Emeritus in 1991, twenty years after the CHA designation was introduced. The first recipients of the award were Roy Watson, Edward C. Leach Sr., Randal L. Davis, and Anthony Rey. 

“The CHA Emeritus was created to recognize people who had completed a number of recertifications and were retiring from the industry,” Cichy recalled. “It was like a lifetime achievement award. These people had been with certification since its beginning.” 

Indeed, the list of those who have received the CHA Emeritus Award is a Who’s Who of hospitality leaders. It includes: Robert M. James, Howard P. “Bud” James, Creighton Holden, Paul R. Handlery, Douglas Keister, Donald E. Jankura, M.O. “Bus” Ryan, Phillip B. Lowry, Philip Pistilli, Jack Vaughn, John Curry, and Robert Baersch. Tony Farris, CEO of Quorum Hotels & Resorts, was the most recent recipient of the CHA Emeritus, received during the AH&LA Summer Summit in April 2008. 

The November “Celebration of Excellence” breakfast will name new CHA Emeritus and for the first time, MHS Emeritus, recipients. 

“All of these hospitality executives, suppliers, and academics have excelled in their careers, but equally as important, they have contributed to the success of the industry by serving in association positions at the local, state, and national level,” said Joseph McInerney, CHA, president and CEO of AH&LA. 

Tickets to the breakfast are $75 and are available on a first-come, first served basis. 
The reservation deadline is October 17, 2008. 
For more information, call 407-999-8100 or visit  

Established in 1953 as a nonprofit educational foundation of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Educational Institute’s mission is to support AH&LA by becoming the preferred provider to the lodging industry, hospitality schools, and related hospitality industries both domestically and internationally by developing and providing quality resources to train, educate, and certify hospitality professionals.




Elizabeth Johnson
Marketing Manager


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