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December 2012

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Rodolfo Casparius
Rudy’s Secret to Success? Do What You Love!
At 93, Rodolfo Casparius’ list of accomplishments is lengthy. And if you ask him, he’ll tell you without a moment’s hesitation—he’s not finished yet. “Rudy,” as he’s known around Hilton College, recently published his 1,567th column for La Opinion of Los Angeles, the most widely read Spanish-language newspaper in the United States. That’s a column a week for 30 years and counting! But Rudy, the director of Latin American Hotel & Hospitality Management Programs at Hilton College, isn’t just a writer. Before he picked up the pen, he wore many hats in the hospitality industry. He got his start working in Hilton hotels in New York, was personally mentored by none other than Conrad N. Hilton, and eventually became the company’s “go-to” guy for launching new properties in Latin America. He brought his expertise to Hilton College in 1998, teaching Advanced Lodging Management & Hotel Operations and serving as the general manager of the Hilton University of Houston. In 2008, the Confederation of National Tourism Associations of Mexico presented him with the “Presidente Aleman,” a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the tourism industry in that country. But ever since he started writing his column in 1982, Rudy hasn’t missed a deadline—no matter where he was or what he was doing. Initially, he said he stuck to hospitality-related topics. But these days, he writes about whatever is on his mind. As for how he keeps moving forward at a time in life when many are content to slow down and reflect on the past, Rudy says it’s all about finding your passion. “All my life, I’ve worked only in things I like. I like the hotel industry. I love Hilton College. And I love writing,” he said. It’s a formula he suggests to anyone who wants to have a long, successful career. “If you can, keep on doing what you love to do.” (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Hospitality On Parade Gala
No Raining on This Parade!
It was a big night for Hilton College at the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston’s 8th Annual Hospitality on Parade gala held Nov. 16 at the Hilton Americas-Houston. Three members of the Hilton College family—noted alumnus and Eric’s Club member Nick Massad (’73), and current students Niraj Bhavsar and Mary Sheffel—received prestigious awards from this much-anticipated industry event. Nick (pictured center), president & CEO of American Liberty Hospitality, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the industry—the highest honor bestowed by the Association, and one that is not given out every year. Niraj (left) and Mary (right) received Outstanding Lodging Student Awards, which are presented annually to select students based on character, integrity, industry experience, academic achievements and contributions to college activities. A panel of industry experts outside of Southeast Texas selected the award recipients from a list of nominees compiled locally by their peers and employers. Congratulations to Nick, Niraj and Mary—you all make Hilton College proud! (Photos: Mary Sheffel & Michael Scott)
Jacob Ortiz Homecoming
Homecoming’s Big Cats
When the weather cools down and the gridiron action heats up each fall, UH alumni and students alike flock to campus for a week of fun, festivities and football. We’re talking, of course, about Homecoming. And with so much to coordinate, it only makes sense that a star hospitality student from Hilton College would play a major role in bringing those festivities to life! Jacob Ortiz, a junior lodging major, served as the director of Productions for Homecoming 2012. He was the driving force behind a slew of major events on campus, including the Cooglympics, the Homecoming Pep Rally, Go Coogs Day, the Strut Your Stuff variety show and the Homecoming Block Party. With the help of four assistant directors, Jacob was responsible for conceptualizing and planning each event, securing vendors and ensuring that day-of operations ran smoothly. His efforts were rewarded. All of the events were very well-received and attracted larger-than-expected crowds! Impressive, to be sure. But Jacob’s already looking ahead to next year and is hoping to serve as the 2013 Homecoming Chair: “I want Hilton College students to be involved with the University, so they can showcase exactly what hospitality is all about. We all go to Hilton College, but we’re a part of the UH community, too. We need to make sure they understand what hospitality students can accomplish.” Jacob recommends that students who are interested in event planning get involved in Homecoming to gain invaluable hands-on experience. (Photo: Jacob Ortiz)
Par Excellence

Petites, Penguins and a Par Ex Party
Happy birthday, Par Excellence! Hilton College’s student-run, hospitality-staffing honors organization celebrated its 30th anniversary on Nov. 16 with a James Bond-themed soiree and petite graduation ceremony, complete with martinis (shaken, not stirred), famous Bond bad guys, spy games and dashing double-agent decor. As is tradition, the entire evening was meticulously planned by the new class of members—Emily Chen, Alexandra Gonzales, Andres Imperial, Morgan Marchand, Fiorella Mongollon, Julie Nguyen, Calli Oreschnigg, Vicky Sun and Shining Wang—whose semester-long training program culminated with this event. At the graduation ceremony, the new members received their official tuxedo jacket coattails, graduating from “petites” to full-fledged Par Ex “penguins.” And since the event also marked Par Excellence’s 30th year, they entertained a special guest speaker—the organization’s founder, former dean of Hilton College and current Professor Emeritus Dr. Clinton L. Rappole. Dr. Rappole told the audience how proud he was of the students who’ve served in the organization over the years, noting that the excess revenue they’ve earned staffing events has enabled Par Ex to create a $30,000 scholarship endowment that benefits other Hilton College students. Kudos to the newest Par Ex penguins on a fantastic milestone event! No doubt, 007 himself would have approved. (Photo: Michael Scott)

Lily Ng

Taking the Helm at Caesars Global Living Asia
Hilton College alums have made big names for themselves across the hospitality industry, and Lily Ng (’89) is no exception. Lily was recently named president of Caesars Global Living Asia, the non-gaming, luxury-hotel management division of Caesars Entertainment. Prior to joining Caesars, Lily—who was honored as one of China’s Top 10 Female Leaders by the World Hotel Association in 2010—served as executive vice president at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in China. She’s also worked for Hilton, Security Capital Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers. “We are very excited that Lily, one of Asia’s well-known and successful hotel industry executives, has agreed to head Caesars Global Living’s hotel management activities in the vibrant Asian market,” said Steven Tight, president of International Development for Caesars Entertainment. “Her extensive China hospitality experience and exceptional history of accomplishments make her the ideal person to lead our expansion of Caesars-branded non-gaming luxury destinations in Asia.” Congratulations, Lily! (Photo: Lily Ng)