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September 2015

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PhD Students
Introducing Our Inaugural Ph.D. Class!
They’re here! Classes are under way for our long-awaited inaugural cohort of Ph.D. students. Six standout scholars were accepted into this prestigious new program—a rigorous, three-year degree with a core curriculum focused on the development of research, leadership, teaching and grantsmanship skills. Pictured left to right are students Elizabeth Whalen, Amanda Belarmino, Yue-Teng Vaughan, Jiseon Ahn, Jennifer Han and Chandler Yu. Among their research interests are integrated resort development and management, valuation and finance, revenue management, lodging, marketing, operations and food safety. While they’re earning their Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration, these students will work on research with a faculty mentor and teach undergraduate courses. When they complete the program, they’ll fill much-needed roles across the world as academics or industry consultants. “We are unique among the 15 hospitality Ph.D. programs in the country in that we have a great relationship with the industry,” said Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies Ki-Joon Back, who was instrumental in establishing the Hilton College program. “We’re very pleased to have these exceptional scholars and this exciting new program at the College.” (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Super four
A Super Experience for 19 Super Students
This semester, 19 Hilton College students (pictured above with Lecturer Anthony Caterina, center) joined 16 students from the UH Department of Health & Human Performance to begin an intense, four-semester program working with the local organizing committees for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four and the 2017 Super Bowl, both of which will be hosted in Houston. It’s called the Super Four Experience, and it was officially launched at a press conference at UH’s Carl Lewis Auditorium on September 8. The students will work closely with committee members in event planning, event management, sports marketing and communication, safety and security, budgeting, facility management, guest services, transportation, community relations, project management and marketing. Training will involve behind-the-scenes access to planning and event logistics meetings, direct involvement with event management and execution, and administrative support, and classroom instruction will include practical projects integrated with the field training. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the ultimate in experiential learning. “We know our students will benefit from this opportunity, and at the same time, these two wonderful local committees will get the chance to see what great students come from Hilton College and the University of Houston,” Caterina, who spearheaded the effort to establish the program, said. Sounds like a win-win! Congrats to all! (Photo: Richard Carson)
HMS Solidifies Industry Ties With New Look, New Name
Big news for the student org formerly known as the Hotel Management Society (HMS): They’ve got a new name and newly minted ties with the Houston lodging industry! HMS is now the official student chapter of the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston (HLAGH). What does that mean? It means unparalleled networking opportunities for our students and increased industry support for the College! Student leaders with HMS approached HLAGH about becoming the official student chapter late last semester, so they were able to do their first round of recruiting as HLAGH-UH at the Fall 2015 Student Organization Fair. Thanks to this new affiliation, HLAGH-UH members will be able to attend monthly HLAGH luncheons with professionals, and HLAGH members will accompany our students on their hotel property tours. That’s the kind of face time with decision-makers that can lead to jobs and internships! “The Houston hotel industry is growing so quickly with the Super Bowl coming up, and the professionals in HLAGH will be looking for qualified people to hire. There couldn’t be a better time to establish this relationship. The professionals are as thrilled about it as we are,” Cathy Cheatham, the HLAGH-UH faculty advisor, said. “Anyone serious about wanting to work in the lodging industry needs to be a part of this group.” We couldn’t agree more! For more information on HLAGH-UH, email (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Welcome Social
A Warm Welcome for Our New Students
The College hosted its first annual Welcome Social on August 23, and it was a huge success! More than 180 new freshmen and transfer students and their families joined dozens of alumni, faculty and staff in Barron’s for some great food, a good time and even better company. Dean Dennis Reynolds was on hand to welcome the students into the Hilton College family, and they also had the chance to meet some of their professors, find their classrooms, win raffle prizes and make new friends. Special thanks to alums Patty and Kevin Godfrey and Kaitlyn Venable with Luby’s/Fuddruckers for donating all the delicious food and equipment, and to Chef Anthony Chevalier and Wendy Gary for overseeing all the kitchen operations. This is an exciting new tradition that couldn’t have happened without the volunteers who staffed the event and the hard work of party planners Mandi Anderson, Dr. Mary Dawson, Wendy Ballard and Danny Arocha. What a great way to kick off another awesome year at the HC! GO COOGS! (Photos: Taylor Wiley)