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Fifteen Hospitality Industry Leaders Appointed to the First Advisory Board of Mitchell College’s
Hospitality & Tourism Management Program in New London, Connecticut

February 12, 2009, New London, CT – Fifteen leaders from the hospitality and tourism industry have been appointed to the first advisory board of Mitchell College’s Hospitality & Tourism Management program. The primary responsibility of the board is to counsel, support and promote Mitchell’s Hospitality & Tourism Department, according to Robert Forcier, Assistant Professor and Chair of the department. He adds that the board’s three main goals are to ensure academic integrity, foster corporate partnerships and advocate for both Mitchell College and the hospitality and tourism industry.
Members of the board were carefully selected to include representatives of every facet of the diverse hotel, restaurant and food service industry. In addition to Forcier, those named to the board are: 
  • Michael Costelli, General Manager of the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT; 
  • Tina Dattilo, General Manager, Waters Edge Resort & Spa, Westbrook, CT; 
  • Bob DeZinno, President & CEO, Connecticut Restaurant Association, Waterbury, CT; 
  • Stephen Downes, CEO & General Manager, The Carnegie Abbey Club, Portsmouth, RI; 
  • Renee Fournier, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, Mitchell College, New London, CT; 
  • Art Healey, Director of Human Resources, Sodexo, Waltham, MA; 
  • Christopher Jennings, President, Mystic Coast & Country, Mystic, CT; 
  • Jon T. Kodama, JTK Management Corporation, Stonington, CT; 
  • Judy Moran, Vice President of Human Resources, Waterford Group, Waterford, CT; 
  • Ray Pineault, Senior Vice President of Casino Operations, Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT; 
  • Edward Stanton, Vice President of Hotel Operations, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket, CT; 
  • Donna Simpson, Executive Director, Eastern Regional Tourism District, New London, CT; and 
  • Denise Braley, Adjunct Professor, Mitchell College, New London, CT; and 
  • Deirdre Lonergan, President, Trek Tours, Ltd., Westerly, RI.
“The establishment of this advisory board is a win-win for everyone involved,” Forcier says. “Southeastern Connecticut is the center of tourism in the state and until now there were no four-year colleges or universities located in this region providing hospitality education. We can provide the industry with people who are passionate about the industry and who want careers in hospitality and tourism. In return, the industry will provide our students with great networking, field study and career placement opportunities. We are very fortunate to have a board of this caliber working on behalf of Mitchell College.” 
Specifically, the board’s statement of purpose includes increasing and strengthening the department’s and the college’s reputations within the hospitality community; collaborating with the department to support marketing strategies that will enhance its identity and improve its image on a local and national scale; helping the department in developing contacts, working relationships, and networking opportunities; reviewing current and proposed department programs and activities (new majors, abroad opportunities, internships/coops, certificate programs, community outreach, etc.); and providing opportunities for professionals to share expertise with students and faculty, through classroom presentations, site visits, student organizations, shadow opportunities and/or case study analysis.

Mitchell College’s Hospitality & Tourism Management program is designed to prepare students for managerial roles including management positions in hotels, restaurants, tourism and gaming, trade shows, conventions, food service and culinary arts. The program combines theory and skill development with an emphasis on practical work experience. Students in the program must perform 600 hours of “hands on” academic experience through a hospitality or tourism co-op/internship placement. This practical work experience represents 12 academic credits.

Mitchell College is a private coeducational independent college offering bachelor and associate degrees in 20 programs of study, as well as the Thames Academy post-graduate program. The College is dedicated to providing a challenging education in a caring and cooperative student-centered environment. Located on a 68-acre waterfront campus, Mitchell College's 940 students come from 27 states and three foreign countries.


Renee Fournier
Director of Public Relations and Marketing
Mitchell College
437 Pequot Avenue, New London, CT 06320
860-701-5084 or

Also See: Robert O. Forcier Appointed Chair of Mitchell College's New Hospitality and Tourism Program; Bachelor Degree Program Complements Connecticut's Boom in Tourism / August 2008



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