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Richard Farrar, VP of Owner & Franchise Services for Marriott International,
Captures the Attention of MSU Students in The School
of Hospitality Business


A Day at State

East Lansing – February 18, 2010 - Well, actually it was two days.  When Visiting Leader and Alumnus Richard Farrar (BA ’73) returned to campus to speak to students in The School of Hospitality Business in January, he found there was quite a bit more to his trip than just a classroom.
Richard, vice president of Owner & Franchise Services for Marriott International, Inc., and his wife Nancy are both alumni of MSU, and met each other while students on campus.  Nancy is from the Lansing area, and Richard, chairman emeritus of The School’s Alumni Association and the 2007 Alumnus of the Year, advises and assists The School in a number of ways.  So they return to East Lansing from their home in Maryland with some regularity. 
But their recent visit was especially memorable.  Arriving on Wednesday, January 20, they were treated by Beth Marinez, recruiting secretary for the team, to a tour of the Breslin Center and the men’s basketball facilities, including a visit with Coach Tom Izzo.  Dinner followed at the Tip-off Café in Breslin Center just before the start of that evening’s men’s basketball game against Iowa.  The Spartans obliged them with a win, which Richard and Nancy enjoyed watching from one of Breslin’s luxurious suites.  For these die-hard Spartan basketball fans – who, by the way, do not get regular broadcast of MSU games in their area – the evening was spectacular.
“I knew Richard was having fun when I saw him imitating the MSU Motion dancers with 9-year-old Steven Izzo,” says Dr. Ron Cichy (BA ’72, MBA ’77), director and professor in The School.  
The next day, Richard spoke in THREE classes, addressing the topic of “How Marriott Makes Money” in Dr. Kim’s HB 375 – Hospitality Marketing; “What to Consider Before and After Graduation” in Dr. Beck’s HB 380 – Meeting & Event Planning & Management; and “Strategic Marketing” in Dr. Beck’s HB 476 – Applied Marketing – Lodging.  He told students to “be engaged.  Take leadership roles on campus, whether in sororities and fraternities, School clubs and events, or other campus organizations.  Leadership development is perhaps even more important than grades in determining whether you are hired in most companies.”
Dr. Beck said afterward, “Richard always does a fantastic job in capturing the students’ attention.  His effectiveness in the classroom can be measured by the number of students who make a point to speak to him after class.” 
Dr. Kim also observed Richard’s impact on the students, saying, “Students were truly impressed with his lifetime industry experience and they were challenged to understand different market pricing methods and trends to maximize the profit for Marriott.” 
Following his presentations, Richard was designated an Honorary Faculty Member in The School.  

When Richard accepted his Alumni of the Year Award in May 2007, he gave succinct advice to the students and alumni in the audience:
  • Join the Alumni Association Board
  • Come back to campus and get involved when you can
  • Be prepared to work 24/7 with no holidays
  • Plan; plan to stay with your company at least five years
  • Join a 401(k) retirement plan
  • Take a good time management course
  • While you're in The School, take leadership roles in events such as the Annual Auction and Les Gourmets
  • Make sure upper management knows your name and face
  • Take tough jobs that others shy away from
  • Care; care about your job
  • Learn to tie a bow-tie
  • Choose your attitude
  • Make the most of where you are, not where you're not
  • Call Mom and Dad; love is powerful, so keep it in your life
  • Have fun; folks that have fun are fun to be around

The next day, Richard and Nancy visited Shaw Hall, the residence hall where their romance began, and then enjoyed a tour of MSU’s football practice facility conducted by Dylan Marinez, the team’s equipment manager.
Their “Day(s) at State” provided students with Richard’s expertise and hospitality industry wisdom, but also gave Richard and Nancy yet another set of campus memories.    
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 83rd year anniversary in 2010.  The School has almost 10,000 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 


Lena Loeffler
The School of Hospitality Business
232 Eppley Center
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 353-9211


Also See: The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University Elects Richard D. Farrar as President of the Alumni Association / July 2004

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