The Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management marked its 25th anniversary with a gala.

Silver anniversary

Hospitality, Restaurant and Institutional Management celebrates 25 years

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9:10 a.m., Oct. 23, 2013--From gourmet food to impeccable service, a gala dinner was the highlight of a two-day celebration held in recognition of the University of Delaware’s Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management’s 25th anniversary last week.

Nearly 190 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres in UD’s Daugherty Hall before moving on to a reception in the Multipurpose Rooms of the Trabant University Center, where they feasted on a four-course meal created by alumni celebrity chefs Maria Tampakis (Class of 2008), Steve Giardini (2004) and Scott Heckert (2001) on Thursday evening. Chef Dana Herbert (1998), winner of the TLC reality show Next Great Baker, created an anniversary cake.

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Despite the festivities, the event was par for the discovery-learning course for HRIM students. A host of student wait staff lined the room at the ready, while Bernd Mayer, dining room manager of Vita Nova, kept a watchful eye to ensure the dining experience went according to plan.

Remarks by UD President Patrick Harker and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell highlighted such unique opportunities afforded to HRIM students.

"HRIM is a terrific example of the kind of discovery learning we value at UD," said Harker. "The program connects theory and practice with the real-world needs of the hospitality industry. It's not surprising that nine in 10 HRIM students are employed when they graduate, or that they work with some of the best hotels, restaurants and companies around the world."

“The way this program makes sure that students get all this work experience and opportunities while they are here at the University is really fundamental to the success you’ve had and it’s the same kind of thing that we’re seeing across the economy,” added Markell. “We believe that when you give more students an opportunity to see what the world of work is all about, there’s a much better chance they’ll understand what is expected of them when they get out there.”

Markell also pointed out the important role the hospitality industry plays in Delaware.

“I know this is a big deal for the program and for the University but this is also a big deal for the state,” said Markell. “Hospitality is a $2 billion industry in the state of Delaware that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes at the state and local levels. At a time when we are all about putting people to work, this is a great industry in terms of providing employment.”

Michele Rollins, chair of the HRIM Advisory Board, noted that it was the vision of several University officials that made the program possible. She cited the late E. Arthur Trabant, former UD president; Alexander R. Doberenz, dean of what was then the College of Human Resources; David E. Hollowell, former executive vice president and treasurer; President Emeritus David P. Roselle; and Paul R. Wise, founder of HRIM.

“The founding fathers, including Dean Doberenz and Prof. Wise, who are with us this evening, began a history of great ideas and people who believe they could impact students,” said Rollins. “We are here tonight to celebrate the past 25 years and, more importantly, to look forward to the next 25 and beyond.”

Jessica Baran, a 1998 HRIM graduate, gave an alumni keynote address after the dinner service. Baran was most recently vice president of resort sales at Foxwoods Resort Casino. Prior to joining Foxwoods, she was the director at the Atlantis, the world-renowned Kerzner International convention facility and casino in the Bahamas and the senior national manager of the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

And as HRIM is about much more than hospitality, so too was the celebration about more than the gala dinner.

A silent auction on Friday evening raised over $8,000 on items from tasting and meal packages at local businesses like Paradocx Vineyard in Landenberg, Pa., to overnight stays in the “nation’s oldest city” of St. Augustine, Fla., and historic downtown Newport, R.I., donated by the Shaner Hotel Group.

“We are so very fortunate to have such wonderful alumni, corporate support and friends in hospitality,” said Donna Laws, business administrator in HRIM, who played a key role in organizing the anniversary events.

Alumni returned to campus to share their experiences in the classroom on Thursday and Friday and led class discussions and demonstrations. Amar Tailor (1992), Adam Forman (2005), Bill Galbraith (2001) and Joshua Kling (2009) talked to students about beverage management; Katie Newkumet (2007) spoke with students about property engineering; Lori Gumnitz (2000) and Kristin Bartholomew (2009) visited a marketing in the hospitality industry class; Mac Ashby (2009), William Woodson (2008) and Meagan Tosh (1997) reviewed management of food and beverage operations; Nicole Bailey presented an introduction to hospitality; and on Friday, Erin Wren Proud (2000) talked to students about executive presentation.

Also on Friday, Ken Whitney, senior adviser of the investor relations and business development group, and William Stein, senior managing director and global head of asset management in the real estate group, both at Blackstone, a leading global investment and advisory firm, delivered a keynote address.

Current HRIM students later had the opportunity to connect with alumni during a networking event that featured a “taste of Newark” with foods from Bing’s Bakery, Capriotti’s, Chipotle, Margherita’s Pizza, Newark Deli and Bagel, and Buffalo Wild Wings along with chef Mark Chopko’s award-winning mini crab cakes from Marriott’s Courtyard Newark at UD.

“HRIM has an outstanding reputation for hospitality business education on campus and around the world,” said Sheryl Kline, HRIM department chair. “On behalf of our students and the entire department, we are grateful to all our industry sponsors, alumni and friends for their support and efforts that helped us get here, and we look forward to creating the next 25 years of excellence in hospitality education.”

Article by Kathryn Meier

Photos by Duane Perry

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