The School of Hospitality Leadership at UW-Stout has prepared thousands of graduates for specialized careers around the world.
From hotel, restaurant and club executives, managers and owners to tourism experts and more, the school has been recognized worldwide for its programs and graduates. In 2018, the school was ranked No. 8 in the world — No. 6 in the U.S. — by CEOWorld magazine.
The history and success will be marked Thursday, March 7, on campus with a 50th anniversary celebration. Events include a lunch, at noon; panel discussion, 2-4 p.m.; silent auction, 5 p.m.; wine seminar, 5:30 to 7 p.m., featuring Professor Peter D’Souza; and dinner, 7 p.m.
The lunch will feature remarks by Chancellor Bob Meyer and Bob Salt, dean of the College of Education, Hospitality, Health and Human Sciences.
The dinner keynote speaker will be Rick Roman, a 1982 program graduate who is chairman and CEO of the Signature Room at the 95th restaurant, atop the John Hancock Center in Chicago.
Among the attendees will be Randy Ruder, a 1993 graduate who is chairman of the Club Management Association of America. He is general manager of the private Beach Point Club outside of New York City. Ruder also is on the university’s advisory board for the hotel, restaurant and tourism management Bachelor of Science program.
Also attending will be Professor Phil McGuirk, who has been part of program history for more than 40 of the 50 years. He graduated from the program in 1976, received additional training as a chef at the Culinary Institute of America and soon began teaching at UW-Stout. He also received a master’s degree from UW-Stout in 1981 in vocational rehabilitation.
The original hotel and restaurant management program was approved in 1967 and started in fall 1968 under the university’s president at the time, William “Bud” Micheels. The program was renamed hospitality and tourism management in 1991 and then hotel, restaurant and tourism management in 1999.
The degree is accredited by the Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration.
In 50 years, a total of 3,282 UW-Stout students have received degrees in those programs, according to Eric Konsela, associate registrar.
Other majors within the School of Hospitality Leadership are golf enterprise management; and real estate property management.
For many years, graduates of the programs have had a nearly 100 percent employment rate within six months of earning their degrees. A key component of the school’s programs is experiential learning. Students are required to complete field experiences of at least 320 hours on the job at leading hospitality companies.
Students in the School of Hospitality Leadership prepare food in a campus restaurant.