Commencement and new beginnings

At this time of year, my thoughts turn toward the rites and rituals of commencement ceremonies going on around the United States and the world. College communities celebrate the new beginnings upon which their graduates are now embarking.

Likewise, it was recently announced that I too will have a “commencement” and begin a new role as director of the School of Hospitality Management at The Pennsylvania State University later this summer.

My advice to students deciding about companies to join after graduation has always been, “Work for great brands and with great people — hopefully at the same time.” It is with gratitude that I reflect upon leaving one great brand, NYU, for another great brand, Penn State! I start this next chapter knowing I have worked with great people and that I will work with another collection of tremendous hospitality industry professionals, students, researchers and educators in the future.

What makes this industry so rewarding? The people. What draws us — industry practitioners and academics alike — to this challenging, diverse, global profession? For me, the answer is always the people. You probably have heard this maxim once or twice. It’s a people business, after all.

I look forward to continuing to pose questions, engaging you and our industry together with my fellow scholars and teachers in a discussion about applied ideas here on