UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Phillip M. Jolly, assistant professor of hospitality management, has been named inaugural recipient of the Elizabeth M. King Early Career Professorship.

Jolly focuses his teaching and research on better understanding why people do what they do at work and how to leverage that knowledge to improve organizational performance and employee well-being within multifarious hospitality and related service environments.

“It is a tremendous honor to be named the inaugural recipient of the Elizabeth M. King Early Career Professorship,” said Jolly. “I’m excited by the opportunities that this endowment will provide me to enhance my research and teaching, particularly in the areas of organizational diversity and inclusion.”

The early career professorship—the first in the school—was established by Elizabeth M. King, who graduated from Penn State in 1979 with a degree in political science. It was created to support promising faculty and promote innovative teaching and research and contribute to developing many future young faculty members in the school over time.

This motivation is particularly fitting for Jolly, who uses technology as a tool to measure emotions, an innovative method of collecting data in the hospitality industry.

“My research can be complex at times, because traditionally we have asked people how they do/would react in certain situations that involve issues of diversity and inclusion,” said Jolly. “What is exciting to me is that new forms of technology can allow us to better understand people’s reaction to diversity and inclusion in more objective ways.”

Jolly plans to use support from the endowment to invest in technology that will push the boundaries of traditional hospitality and organizational research.

“Using technology that tracks a research participant’s eyes can allow us to better understand what kinds of diversity-relevant information someone is focusing on,” Jolly explained. “Other technologies allow us to measure the kinds of emotions people are feeling.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Phil on several occasions since he was selected as recipient of the early career professorship. When I spoke with former dean Nan Crouter, school director Donna Quadri-Felitti, and director of development Kathleen Rider about this endowment, a professor like Phil is exactly what I hoped for and envisioned,” King said. “I am truly excited about the organizational diversity and inclusion research he has done and will continue doing. He is a remarkable young man, educator, and researcher and I look forward to building my relationship with him and I hope to be a mentor worthy of his trust.”

Jolly, along with his faculty colleagues, are appreciative to the support they receive from alumni and industry alike in order to advance their mission of developing future leaders and conducting research programs in service to the hospitality industry at large.

“The fact that Elizabeth sees our program and our faculty and our students as a worthy investment gives me a huge amount of pride. It means a lot to me, and to all of our faculty, when someone makes a commitment like this that is both a recognition of the good work we have done in the past and a spark to build on those successes in new and exciting ways,” Jolly said.

Jolly joined the Penn State School of Hospitality Management in 2017. He earned his Ph.D. in management from the University of Houston that same year, where he served as a graduate research assistant and instructor. Jolly is author of several refereed publications, frequent presenter at various professional and industry conferences, and recipient of several awards.

To learn more about the Penn State School of Hospitality Management, visit