UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Amit Sharma, professor of hospitality management, has been named the inaugural Edward Friedman and Stuart Mann Professor in Hospitality Management. The professorship supports an outstanding faculty member in the College of Health and Human Development’s School of Hospitality Management to advance the contributions of its holder in teaching, research and public service.

“I could not be more pleased that Amit Sharma is the inaugural holder of the Edward Friedman and Stuart Mann Professor in Hospitality Management,” Donna Quadri-Felitti, associate professor and Marvin Asher Endowed Director of the Penn State School of Hospitality Management said. “Amit is passionate about cultivating students to become leaders in the hospitality industry through his teaching and is a renowned scholar of informed decision-making in hospitality management. He further extends his expertise by serving the industry through his research, and the community through his service efforts in a variety of ways, like spearheading efforts for students and researchers to understand and combat food insecurity.”

Sharma shared his own reflections on receiving the recognition.

“I am honored to be named the Edward Friedman and Stuart Mann Professor in Hospitality Management,” he said. “This professorship will help advance my work in understanding and enhancing decision-making in the hospitality industry. Developing graduates and future scholars that are curious, and driven to positively impact our world has always been, and continues to be my primary passion, whether these future professionals seek to open their own business, lead an established hospitality company, or continue in academics.”

Joining the faculty in the Penn State School of Hospitality Management in 2006, Sharma serves in a number of capacities, including as associate director of the school; as professor-in-charge of undergraduate programs; and as director of the Food Decisions Research Laboratory, a collaboration of student researchers and scholars from across the globe. His research has been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the World Bank Group, industry partners, and also through internal grants from Penn State. Sharma is an affiliate faculty member of Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology and the Rock Ethics Institute. He is also currently president of the International Association of Hospitality Financial Management Educators, and past president of International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education.

The Edward Friedman and Stuart Mann Professorship in Hospitality Management was established from a gift bestowed by the estate of the late Edward A. Friedman, a Penn State alumnus who earned his master’s degree in hotel, restaurant, and institutional management from the College of Health and Human Development’s School of Hospitality Management in 1995. Friedman was a successful businessman in hospitality and real estate, and with his wife, Charlene — who survives and still resides in State College — was deeply committed to the community and to town and gown relations.

In addition to Friedman, the professorship honors Stuart Mann, Penn State Professor Emeritus of Hospitality Management, who served as a faculty member and as the school’s director through 1998. Mann was instrumental in realizing the Mateer Building, which opened in 1993 as the physical home of the school and for invigorating its curriculum. It was while Mann was director that Friedman completed his master’s degree in the school and enjoyed the mentorship and friendship of the school’s leader. Today, Mann is retired as Dean Emeritus of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ William F. Harrah School of Hospitality where he served as dean post-Penn State for 13 years.

“The support faculty members receive from endowed professorships like this make a significant impact advancing the mission of the School of Hospitality Management,” according to Quadri-Felitti. “Faculty are the backbone of successful degree programs, and the exceptional support such as a named professorship that Ed and Charlene Friedman have made to the school elevates our collective leadership in hospitality higher education as have our endowed Marriott Professorship in Lodging Management and Elizabeth M. King Early Career Professorship in the School of Hospitality Management.”