Hotelie Magazine

Hotelie Fall 2012 no classnotes

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Leading Off Connecting cultures through hospitality H . B. Meek convened his first class in hotel administration on September 20, 1922. To this small but determined mathematician had fallen the substantial task of creating an academic discipline focused on hospitality. Faced with a threadbare budget and the opposition of skeptical hoteliers, he solved both problems by forging cooperative relationships with more and more industry practitioners, who taught classes and hired his graduates. Prof Meek was poised to supply this nascent industry with a new breed of skilled, confident executives capable of guiding its trajectory. The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, the first of its kind, grew in reputation with every class it graduated. Our alumni rose quickly into leadership positions in the industry, improving their operations, brokering mergers and acquisitions, and establishing themselves as notable hotel and restaurant entrepreneurs. Photo: Jason Koski/UPhoto The U.S. hospitality industry was on the cusp of dramatic change in 1922. Ellsworth Statler was already famed as an innovator—he had been offering a private bath and running water in every one of his hotel rooms since 1907—but other now-iconic names were not yet known. Conrad Hilton had bought his first hotel in 1919 but would not put his name on one until 1925. Howard Johnson would develop his ice-cream recipe and found his company late in 1925, and J. Willard and Alice Marriott would introduce Hot Shoppes in 1927. Students move in for a taste of the anniversary cake 2 School of Hotel Administration The SHA soon attracted international students and visitors, and in the course of his 39-year administration Meek traveled the globe visiting alumni, recruiting new students, and establishing the first two international chapters of the Cornell Hotel Society. When he died in 1969, eight years after retiring as dean, his equally legendary successor, Robert A. Beck '42, wrote in memorializing him, "Today our school is acknowledged to be the major collegiate institution of its kind in the world and draws about 15 percent of its 450 full-time students from outside the United States." Bob Beck, whom we lost this past July 31, greatly increased the school's international reach during his 20-year term as dean from 1961 to 1981. In addition to expanding our executive education offerings and the number of CHS chapters abroad, he also entered the school into cooperative educational ventures in Puerto Rico and France. Internationalization has been part of our DNA, as it is for all of Cornell, for as long as we can remember. Our alumni have fanned out all over the world to aid the spread of hospitality—and with it, greater socioeconomic well-being and cross-cultural understanding. As the SHA has focused on growing its global platform, so has the U.S. hotel industry. During the period of the Beck deanship, the major hotel chains expanded rapidly around the world, first to Europe and then to the Middle East and Japan. We are now experiencing another period of

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