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December 2015

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Meet Our New Associate Dean for Academic Affairs!
Congratulations are in order for Dr. Mary Dawson—she’s been named the College’s new associate dean for academic affairs and Donald H. Hubbs Professor! (Former Hubbs Professor Dr. Ki Joon Back is now the Eric Hilton Distinguished Chair.) Dr. Dawson has spent the past year serving as our interim academic dean, helping with the transition period before and after Dean Dennis Reynolds arrived in July. Dawson, who earned both her BS and MS at the College and her Ed.D. from UH, has been a faculty member since 1996, first as a lecturer, then as an assistant and associate professor. Now, as an administrator, she’ll help lead the College into its next chapter, while still teaching a class a semester and working on her research. “I am humbled to have been given this opportunity and thank Dean Reynolds for the support and trust he has placed in me. I’m looking forward to working with our outstanding faculty and staff to take our College to the next level,” Dawson said. “I have some very big shoes to fill!” If we know Dr. Dawson, she’s definitely up to the task! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
NSMH Students Network With the Pros
Hilton College students got an insider’s look at the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners National Convention in California in November, thanks to the organization’s generous support of the student chapter of the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH). The Coalition paid for five of our standout NSMH members to attend the conference: Shantae Rudulph-Crosby, D’Arika Green, Jordan Coleman, Brittany Olootu and Phina Uzowulu. The students were carefully selected for the honor by the Coalition after a special application process. At the event, they had the chance to network, attend lecture sessions and rub elbows with big names in the events industry and other famous faces—including Al Sharpton, pictured above (center) with the students and other conference attendees. Big thanks to the Coalition for providing our students with this amazing opportunity, and kudos to our NSMH members for representing the College so well!
Gourmet Night
Jockeys, Juleps and a Derby-Themed Gourmet Night
Place your wagers and get ready for a Kentucky Derby-themed good time at the 43rd Annual Gourmet Night: “Jockeys & Juleps: The Race to the Winner’s Circle” on April 16, 2016! The student management team revealed the theme on November 23 at a VIP social for a select group of students, where they passed out “Jockeys & Juleps” T-shirts and customized cookies to help drum up excitement for the big event. The 2016 team, pictured left to right, includes Lamson Nguyen, beverage service manager; Sunny Ahmed and Dakota Tate, co-events managers; Kristina Heckel, banquet chef; Samantha Rice, sous chef; Caitlin O’Brien, general manager; Brandon King, food service manager, Jacob Watson and Dylan Castagno (not pictured), co-silent auction managers; Humberto Sanchez, communications manager; and Dana Williams, logistics manager. The team has been working hard for months planning this black-tie tribute to the “Run for the Roses,” and we can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with. And if you’re a foodie, you really won’t want to miss it—this year, guests will be treated to the culinary talents of Guest Chef Jacques Fox of Artisans Restaurant, who is overseeing the kitchen operations and crafting the menu. Tickets go on sale at the end of January and—as always—are going to be in short supply. For more information, contact Erin Oeser Goodell, Gourmet Night executive director, at (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Hilton College Standouts Saluted at Hospitality on Parade
Two Hilton College students were honored on November 13 by the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston at its annual Hospitality on Parade Awards Banquet at the Hilton Americas-Houston. The students, Vanessa Alfaro (left) and Caitlin O’Brien (right), received the 2015 Outstanding Lodging Student Award, which is presented annually to select students based on character, integrity, industry experience, academic achievements, contributions to the College and participation in College organizations and activities. Vanessa, a senior pursuing a career in hotel operations, has been involved in the lodging industry since 2013, when she got an internship with Landry’s Inc. at the Holiday Inn & Resort in Galveston. She’s also worked in front desk operations at the JW Marriott in the Galleria and as a housekeeping supervisor at the Hyatt Regency downtown. A four-time Dean’s list honoree, Vanessa is actively involved in the Cougar Chapter of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals. Caitlin, also a senior, currently serves as the vice president of education and development for the UH chapter of the National Association for Catering and Events and is the 2016 Gourmet Night general manager. Over the summer, Caitlin landed a coveted internship in hotel sales with MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and she’s looking forward to pursuing a career in hotel sales after graduation. Congratulations to these outstanding future hospitality professionals—they make Hilton College proud!
SA big check
Industry Support Creates New Scholarships in San Antonio
The Conrad N. Hilton College–San Antonio is new to the Alamo City, but we continue to enjoy incredible support from the hospitality industry there. Case in point: the San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association (SAHLA) recently started a generous $50,000 endowment to support scholarships for our San Antonio students. The Hilton Foundation will match the SAHLA’s donation with an additional $50,000, providing even more opportunities for our budding hospitality leaders in the “Tourism Capital of Texas.” The SAHLA, which was founded in 1929, has more than 290 member organizations and is dedicated to the development of future lodging industry employees. Special thanks to John Clamp and Andrea Neve of SAHLA for helping to make this investment in our students a reality!