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September 2013

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New Faculty
Four of a Kind: Meet Our "New" Faculty
With a hand like this, we're all in! Four education aces have joined—or rejoined—the Hilton College faculty for the Fall 2013 semester, and we think they can't be beat. Pictured left to right are Lecturer Cathy Cheatham ('89), Lecturer and Library Director Simone Doudna, Lecturer Arlene Ramirez and Assistant Professor D. Christopher Taylor. Cheatham, who has more than 20 years of national and international lodging operations experience, is teaching Rooms & Housekeeping Management and Hotel Operations. Doudna, who previously taught spa management classes as an adjunct lecturer, brings 20 years of experience in the areas of airline, hotel and spa management back to her classroom. In addition to running the library, she is teaching Intro to Hospitality and Practicum. Ramirez, who has also returned to the College to pursue her love of teaching, has more than 20 years' experience in hospitality finance and hotel development. She is now teaching Systems of Accounts in the Hospitality Industry, Hospitality Managerial Accounting, Hospitality Cost Controls, Hotel Development and Financial Administration for the Hospitality Industry. Dr. Taylor comes from Eastern New Mexico University, where he served in several positions—including dean of the business school—and developed a hospitality program. He is passionate about wine, and his research focus is on preference development and consumer behavior. He is currently teaching Wine Appreciation and Marketing Strategies. Please join us in welcoming these new—and familiar—faces to an already outstanding faculty! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Agnes DeFranco
Welcome Home, Dr. DeFranco!
We're thrilled to announce the return of a beloved faculty member, alumnae and former Hilton College dean, Dr. Agnes DeFranco (BS '83, MBA ‘89, EdD ‘93)! DeFranco is an award-winning educator who has been with the University of Houston since 1989, working as an associate professor, associate dean, interim dean, acting director of admissions and associate vice president for undergraduate studies, among other roles. After moving up the faculty ranks at Hilton College, from part-time lecturer all the way to full professor and interim dean, DeFranco moved on to central administration at the University in 2005, eventually becoming the associate vice president for undergraduate studies. In that role, she had oversight of multiple University offices and entities and was also responsible for the review of undergraduate programs, assessment of core curriculum and scholarship programs. DeFranco is a Certified Hospitality Account Executive and Certified Hospitality Educator Cadre member who has co-authored five textbooks and published more than 70 refereed articles. She's also actively involved in Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, serving as the organization's president from 2006-07. Her experience and expertise in hospitality finance and education is invaluable, and we couldn't be more pleased to have her back as a full-time faculty member at the College. (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
USDA Grant
Major USDA Grant Awarded to Assistant Professors
Big news on the research front! Drs. Jay Neal (right), Mary Dawson (center) and Juan Madera (left)—in partnership with the Houston Community College System and Spring Branch ISD—have received a $241,000 Hispanic-Serving Institution Grant from the USDA. The funds will be used to help recruit Hispanic and other underrepresented students to study food safety at Hilton College. Approximately 2,500 youths at HCC and Spring Branch ISD campuses will be targeted, with the goal of recruiting 30-35 students to earn bachelor's degrees in hospitality management with an emphasis in food safety. Recruitment efforts will include bilingual information packets, summer camps for high school students and their parents, a bilingual website, internships and mentoring programs. "Career opportunities in food safety continue to grow, whether through state and local agencies or as quality assurance managers for restaurants. By combining courses at HCC and Hilton College that focus on food science, food microbiology and entomology (pest control), we'll be preparing the next generations of food-safety leaders," Neal said. This is an impressive and important grant. Kudos to all! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Hall of Honor
Alumni Perk: Discounted Hall of Honor Tickets!
This year, Dean John Bowen is offering special alumni discounts on tickets to the 18th Annual Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor! If you graduated between 2008 and 2013, the cost is $75. Alums who graduated before 2008 can attend for the discounted price of $100. Click here to RSVP and purchase your tickets. Don't miss out on this important industry event! It's the perfect opportunity to network with your fellow alums and support the College. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, October 23, for the induction ceremony and dinner honoring inductees Sam Barshop, founder of La Quinta Inns & Suites, and Richard Melman, chairman and CEO of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises—all planned and executed by a team of Hilton College student managers. For more information, contact faculty mentor Alexis Hoey at or 713.743.2432. (Photo: Aker Zvonkovic Photography)
Exchange Students
Going Global: 6 New International Students Land at the College
Hilton College's study-abroad program provides a first-hand look at the booming global hospitality industry—both to our students who participate, and the students from our partner schools who come to study here. This semester, we welcomed six international students from our partner schools. Pictured left to right at a special welcome reception held in the Calhoun Lofts in August are Alison Bernaola and Claudia Cavero from Universidad San Ignacio De Loyola (USIL) in Lima, Peru; Connor Thorpe from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia; Andree Gutierrez from Centro de Estudios Superiores de San Angel in Mexico City; and our two students from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Katie Ho and Evita Ma. Bernaola and Cavero are part of the Hilton College–Lima Campus program at USIL and are finishing out their degree program at UH. The other four students are spending the semester here through our exchange program. If you'd like more information on "going global" with Hilton College, contact Lydia Westbrook, director of International and External Programs, at or 713.743.2578. (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Caesar Salad Competition
Food Fight: Annual Caesar Salad Competition Coming to UH
Et tu, Houston? For the first time in its 29-year history, the city's annual Caesar Salad Competition will be held, in all of its garlicky glory, at the Hilton University of Houston on Friday, October 11. This culinary contest, sponsored by the Food & Beverage Managers Association of Houston, My Table Magazine and Hilton College, is fit for an emperor. Guests will sip from a sumptuous selection of wines while chefs from the area's finest restaurants go head-to-head, competing for votes and four coveted awards: Consumer's Choice, Most Creative, Best Presentation and Classic. Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door, and it's for a good cause—proceeds benefit the College. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. Please join us for this major "foodie" event! (Graphics: Katie Guidroz)
Hilton College is on Instagram!
Smile and say "cheese!" The College has expanded its social media presence to include Instagram! Our feed will provide a behind-the-scenes look at everything happening here—from major events to the day-to-day activities of our students, faculty and staff. Follow us @hiltoncollege so you won't miss out on any of the photographic fun! (Photos: Taylor Wiley)