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Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society Elects New Slate of Officers

2010 Winter Board Meeting Charts Course for the Future

University Park, PA, March 16, 2010
– The Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society (PSHRS) held its annual Winter Weekend Strategy Forum on Saturday, February 27, and Sunday, February 28, 2010.  The sessions were held at The Nittany Lion Inn on Penn State’s University Park campus.  PSHRS is the seventy-three-year-old alumni organization of Penn State’s renowned School of Hospitality Management.

The slate of officers elected to the board include:
  • Joe McCann, Optimum Hotel Brokerage – President
  • Jennifer Tracy, Comcast Corporation – Vice President, Awards Chair
  • Steve Morgan, Interstate Hotels and Resorts – Treasurer
  • Thomas Riley, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants – Secretary
  • Jessica Park, ARAMARK – Membership Chair
  • Shannon Egan, Marriott Hotels and Resorts – Program Chair
  • Robert Grimes, Accuvia – Long Range Planning Chair
  • Debbie Ulrich, Sysco Corporation – Past President and Chairperson
The weekend strategy meetings included planning for this year’s upcoming alumni activities, including the annual spring Blue-White Tailgate, the Benefield Bash Summer Reunion, the Conti Professorship Series (this year honoring Mark Lomanno of STR and Steve Rushmore of HVS International), the annual fall Alumni in the Classroom symposia, the annual Alumni Awards Recognition Reception, and the November Hospitality Executive of the Year Reception held each year in conjunction with the International Hotel, Motel, and Restaurant Show in New York.  The weekend festivities also included the annual Alumni/Student Mentoring Program, which pairs current students with School of Hospitality Management alumni in an ongoing professional mentoring relationship.
The meeting also introduced Brian Black, the new director of hospitality industry relations for the School of Hospitality Management.  Black is an alumnus of the School of Hospitality Management and returned to the school after a successful tenure in sales and marketing with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

In addition to the conference agenda, special recognition was given to the following individuals:
  • Maggie Crispell, director of development for the College of Health and Human Development, for her longstanding support and friendship to PSHRS and the School of Hospitality Management
  • Debbie Ulrich, chairperson and past president of the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society, for her service and support to PSHRS and the School of Hospitality Management
  • Dr. James Bardi, assistant professor of hospitality management at Penn State Berks, for his thirty years of distinguished service in Penn State Berks’ Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management program

The Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society (PSHRS) has been active in the life of the University since its founding in 1948. Since that time, the society has strived to enhance the reputation of the hospitality management program at Penn State by strengthening organization’s links to the hospitality profession.  PSHRS is an affiliate program group (APG) of the Penn State Alumni Association and the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society.

The Penn State School of Hospitality Management is home to the fourth-oldest hotel, restaurant, and institutional management program in the United States. From its humble beginnings in 1937, the program is now recognized as one of the most respected and distinguished hospitality management programs in the nation.  By combining a broad educational foundation with specific courses designed to build strong leadership, business, and communication skills—and by requiring undergraduate students to accumulate 1,000 hours of “real-world” experience in order to graduate—students gain the theoretical, managerial, quantitative, organizational, and technical skills they need to become the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry. The students’ relationships with faculty (many who have extensive experience in and conduct research for the industry) and alumni (including many who are top executives in their chosen professions) only serve to bolster this learning experience. Penn State’s program currently enrolls more than 800 students.

For more information about the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society and Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management, please contact: Brian A. Black at

Brian A. Black
Director of Hospitality Industry Relations
School of Hospitality Management
Penn State University
201-A Mateer Building
University Park, PA  16802 

Also See: Niki Leondakis Recipient of the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society's Hospitality Executive of the Year Award / October 2009

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