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Conrad N. Hilton College Headlines
Alan T. Stutts, Ph.D., CHE 
Dean of the College &
Barron Hilton Distinguished Chair
Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management
University of Houston
4800 Calhoun
Houston, Texas 77204-3902
January/February 1998
Sanders Interactive Studio at the Conrad N. Hilton College Goes Global
Graduate Student Awarded NTF Scholarship
Lifetime Achievement Awards Presented at the "Quality Through Diversity Conference"
Professor Stresses Diverstiy is the "Key to Quality" in Today's Global Marketplace
Room Attendants Put to the Test
Conrad N. Hilton College Students Sweep Competition
Industry Leaders Take a Stand on Diversity
Statler Recognizes Conrad N. Hilton College Student
Fisher and Del Grande, Distinguished Lecturers
Employer of the Year

HOUSTON – Nov 1997 - Thanks to a generous gift of $60,000 from Don Sanders, former University of Houston Board of Regents member and Kathy Sanders along with a matching donation of $60,000 by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, a state of the art teleconferencing center at the University of Houston was made possible.
Inaugurated on September 12, 1997, students and faculty of the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management now have the capability to connect with teleconferencing center ‘s globally.  Compressed digital  video-conferencing technology links the Conrad Hilton College studio to any site which houses similar equipment.

“The educational opportunities provided by the facility are enormous,” said Mark Hamilton, Hilton College Director of Information Services.  “This technology will enable us to offer distance or continuing education classes at any other university.  A professor could simultaneously teach a class in Alaska, Chicago and here in Houston,” he said.  The studio also has equipment that enables the incorporation of visual and computer presentations.

Hamilton has hinted that the next related project at the Conrad N. Hilton College involves installing the video-conferencing technology found in the studio in every classroom.  He said, “The idea is to make this global, to bring the classroom experience that we have here in Houston to students around the world.”

Contact: Mark Hamilton (713)  743-2428


HOUSTON –  January 1998 - James DuBose, a graduate student of the Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management was awarded the 1997 Tony Orlando Yellow Ribbon Scholarship by the National Tourism Foundation (NTF).  DuBose is one of 25 students that received National Tourism Foundation scholarships from among students representing colleges and universities throughout North America.

DuBose received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.  He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Ability Resources Incorporated and is a consultant with the American with Disabilities Act Committee.  Most recently, James co-authored a special case study at the Conrad Hilton College regarding Haagen dazs Real Estate Development which did an extensive analysis of the leases of the companies franchises.

The Tony Orlando Yellow Ribbon Scholarship  was established in response to the need to fund higher education for students with disabilities.  In addition to the $2000 scholarship he received,  DuBose had the opportunity to attend the 1997 National Tour Association Annual Convention in Tampa, Florida on November 7 - 12.

The National Tourism Foundation has awarded more than $25,000 in the form of grants, scholarships, internships and awards  to students pursuing education in the tourism and travel industry.

Contact:  Patty Godfrey (713) 743-2446




November, 1997 - Lifetime achievement awards were presented to two individuals who have significantly contributed to the promotion of diversity and diversity management in the hospitality Industry.  Elaine Grossinger Etess was the first recipient. She has served as a hotel manager, officer, board member and president of the American Hotel and Motel Association, and is the current chair of its diversity task force.  She has specifically been involved in women’s issues as well being a member of minority groups in the industry.

Rodolfo Casparius was the other award recipient.  Beginning his hotel career in Mexico, Mr. Casparius rose to positions of management and leadership with Westin, Hilton and Fiesta American Organizations.  He is currently the general manager of the University Hilton, operated by the Conrad Hilton College and serves as a faculty member.  Mr. Casparius has contributed to the  advancement of minority members in the industry.

Contact:    Ronald A. Nykiel  (713) 743-2432


 HOUSTON – January, 1998 - Dr. Ronald A. Nykiel, Conrad N. Hilton Distinguished Chair and chairman of the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor at the University of Houston has recently written several articles with a focus on Diversity Issues that have been published in  Hotel and Motel Management, Marketing Review, Journal of Hospitality and Leisure Marketing, and the Dallas, Houston, Orlando and other city (USA) Business Journals.
The central theme of  Nykiel’s articles is what must be understood about our customers and their different needs, wants and languages if the hotel industry is to provide the customer’s with a quality service experience.  Nykiel states that enhancing  product or service begins with understanding the links to diversity.  These links include:

The need to train management and staff to understand and relate to a broad customer base.

In his articles, Dr. Nykiel explains to us that embracing diversity is the right thing to do and will strengthen a company’s collective experience.  The experience will be viewed from perspectives of both internal customers (employees) and external customers. In summary, embracing diversity:

Dr. Nykiel concludes his articles with the following advice, “Enhancing quality through diversity is morally correct and makes good business sense, and needs to be a modus operandi - not a planned strategy or statement. Embrace diversity and enjoy its rewards - moral, social and financial.”

Contact: Dr. Ronald A. Nykiel (713) 743-2432


HOUSTON –  November, 1997 - On September 16, 1997, over fifty room attendants from the Greater Houston area participated in the second annual Houston Room Attendant Rodeo in the Grand Ballroom of the University Hilton Hotel.   Co-sponsored by the Greater Houston Hotel & Motel Association and the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the event challenged  room attendants to strut their stuff in the “Bed-Busting Contest, “ the “Toilet Paper Barrel Race,” and the “Waste Basket Round Up.”

In a race against the clock, contestants were judged on their speed and quality as they rushed to make the best bed in the least amount of time, ran through an obstacle course  to see who could replace the empty toilet paper roll in the shortest amount of time, and finally who could “round up”  trash and empty waste baskets most efficiently.

First place was awarded to Ricarda Hidalgo of the J.W. Marriott.  She was the winner of round - trip airfare to Cancun (courtesy of Continental Airlines), two hotel nights at the Marriott Casa Manga and $200 in spending cash.  Second place winner Maria Mareno of Renaissance Hotel won a queen size bed and mattress donated by the Serta Mattress Company.  And third place winner Yecenia Perez of the Marriott Medical Center won a Saturday night stay at the Nassau Bay Hilton, dinner for two and use of a jet ski donated by Mike Butler, general manager of the Nassau Bay Hilton.

Contact:  Patty Godfrey (713)  743-2446

 Conrad N. Hilton College Students Sweep Competition

HOUSTON – December, 1997 - For the second year in a row a student team from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and  Restaurant dominated the show as they swept all of the national student awards at the Society for Food Service Management Annual Student of the Year Competition held in Seattle, Washington.

The student team comprised of Jason Doyle and Traci Smallwood, along with faculty member Mark Hamilton represented the college and demonstrated excellence as they mastered both the theoretical and folkoristic portions of the competition.  The theoretical portion consisted of sixty multiple choice questions.  While the folkoristic portion involved the students performing a skit presentation on an  American regional cuisine.  The Conrad N. Hilton College student team creatively presented “La Bonne Cuisine, the Cuisine of Acadiana”, a humorous and informative presentation on the Cajun people and their cuisine.

Other universities that participated include Johnson and Wales University, Penn State University, Michigan State University, University of San Francisco and  Widener University.

Doyle and Smallwood will represent the United States in Switzerland in  March 1998.

Contact: Mark Hamilton - (713) 743-2428


ORLANDO –  November, 1997 - The University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College in association with the American Hotel and Motel Association successfully presented the first annual “Quality through Diversity Conference” at the Renaissance Hotel - Airport in Orlando, Florida on September 6-9, 1997.  The conference was sponsored by the Hospitality Industry Diversity Institute (HIDI) at the Conrad N. Hilton College with the direct input of the Quality through Diversity Committee of the American Hotel and Motel Association.

With an estimated attendance of one hundred and seventy people, several different disciplines of the hospitality industry were represented.  Diversity was addressed from many perspectives including race, national origin, gender, disability and economic condition.

Keynote Speaker and President and CEO of the Travel Industry Association of America, William S. Norman summarized diversity as practical, profitable and of proper business element.  Michael A. Leven, President and CEO of U.S. Franchise Systems, Incorporated related his own personal encounters with diversity and discrimination throughout his career to the current challenges felt by industry leaders of the current day.  Valerie Ferguson, General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta and Incoming Chair of the American Hotel and Motel Association summarized the content of the conference.  She stated that the growth and the economic activity that the industry produces may be viewed as either as a dream or a nightmare.

Contact: Ronald A. Nykiel - (713) 743-2432



HOUSTON –  november, 1997 - Jennifer Powell, a  sophomore at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, was awarded the $20,000 “Scholarship of Excellence” by the Statler Foundation.  This scholarship is awarded internationally to select students based on academic performance, achievement and commitment to the hotel industry.

Powell began her career in the hospitality industry through a program called “Texas High Schools for Hospitality” at her high school in Katy, TX.   “Love at first sight” is how she describes her first experience with the industry.  Jennifer is an active student at the Conrad Hilton College serving as President of the Women in Hospitality Professions student organization and serving as Chair of the University of Houston’s Frontier Fiesta celebration.

Powell attended a luncheon in Buffalo, NY and met Joesph DiNardo, Chairman - Statler Foundation Scholarship of Excellence and Arthur Sabia and Joan Alva, also of the Foundation.

Contact: Patty Godfrey - (713) 743-2446


HOUSTON – January, 1998 - In it’s fifth year, the Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and  Restaurant was a success for both the students and local industry representatives.
The speakers for this past semester included Bill Fisher, President and CEO of the American Hotel and Motel Association and Robert Del Grande, renowned chef and owner of Café Annie and Café Express Restaurants.

Dr. Fisher spoke to a crowd of over 200 students and highlighted his popular “Fisher’s Laws”, a guide on how to succeed in the hospitality industry.  The audience was intrigued by the statistics Fisher provided about job opportunities and how the industry’s growth is looking.

Dr. Del Grande spoke to an audience of over 250.  He applied Plato’s philosophy of principles to success in the restaurant industry.  He also noted that hard work and dedication were key attributes employees were looking for from today’s college graduates.

Contact: Patty Godfrey - (713) 743-2446


HOUSTON –  January, 1998 - In a case of practicing what it teaches, the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston has been named Employer of the Year by the Texas Institute for Research and Rehabilitation.

The recognition has been given to the college for employing a former Houston hotel manager who had been unable to work because of a stroke.  The college restructured some job tasks and also made special computer equipment available, all of which enabled the new employee to provide service and develop skills to the school.

In praising the college’s interest and efforts, the Institute gave special recognition to Jeff Graves, the College’s Director of Executive and Continuing Education, and Professor Bill Chernish.

With Chernish’s grant request, Medallion Hotels provided the grant needed to support this position of employment.

Contact:  Patty Godfrey - (713)  743-2446

Patty Godfrey, CHE
Special Projects Coordinator
Conrad Hilton College of Hotel &
    Restaurant Management
University of Houston
Houston, TX  77204-3902
(713) 743-2446 (phone)
(713) 743-2482 (fax)

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