The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Foundation is proud to announce this year’s recipients of the Mike Dimond Scholarship. This prestigious program supports degree-seeking students who plan to pursue careers in hospitality. The 2022 Mike Dimond Scholarship Awardees are Tara Hajari and Ava Ruff.

Tara Hajari

Tara is a student at Florida State University. She expects to graduate in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality & Tourism Management and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Tara is both a Resident Assistant (RA) for FSU University Housing and a Customer Service Representative for FSU Campus Recreation. She has volunteered over 100 hours of community service for Pets Unconditionally Rescued and Rehomed (PURR) and has completed 100 hours in the children’s ministry at Lifepoint Church delivering core curriculum. Tara plans to pursue a career in hospitality and entrepreneurship and hopes to spend time in all aspects of hospitality, including food and beverage, and hotels.


Ava Ruff

Ava is a student at New York University studying Hotel and Tourism Management, expected to graduate in May 2024 with her bachelor’s degree and a minor in The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. She serves as the Social and Community Chair for the NYU Hospitality Business Society and as the Events Chair for the NYU Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association Int. where she is responsible for planning events for both organizations, making external connections, and assisting with creating tours of NYC hospitality establishments. Tara is also a player on the NYU Women’s Lacrosse Team, a member of the Stern Tisch Entertainment Business Association, and a writer for NYU’s Comedy Magazine: The Plague. 

The competition for scholarships is challenging. Criteria for applications include industry work experience, submission of a personal essay, professional recommendations, and maintaining a steady grade point average. Scholarship funds for awardees are designated for the 2022-2023 academic school year.

“We are thrilled to help the bright futures of these promising hospitality students through the Mike Dimond Scholarship Program,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, executive director of the HSMAI Foundation and president and CEO of HSMAI. “The Mike Dimond 2022 Scholarship Program will help give these students the chance to achieve their dreams and be an instrumental part of our industry’s future.”

Mike Dimond was widely recognized as one of the top hotel marketing executives in the United States. This scholarship program was created by his family and friends to expand and enhance the educational opportunities available to hospitality students interested in following in his footsteps.

Each year, two $1,500 scholarships will be awarded to deserving degree-seeking students with the intention of pursuing careers in hospitality sales, marketing, or revenue optimization. To learn more, visit the
HSMAI Mike Dimond Scholarship Program online.