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Be Our Guest: Hospitality Management
Alumni and Friends Newsletter // Spring 2017
Message from the Chair
Message from the Chair
Undergraduate Corner
Twenty-Four-Hour Tiger
Steve O'Loughlin joins the Department of Hospitality Management as Professor-for-a-Day
Lodging Management capstone students network with hotel executives in K.C., St. Louis during winter break
As part of the lodging management capstone class, 28 hospitality management students had the opportunity to shadow management positions for five days in either Kansas City or St. Louis from Jan. 9 – 13, 2017.

The hotels that participated were: Kansas City Marriott Downtown, Argosy Casino Hotel and Spa, Hilton Kansas City Airport, InterContinental Kansas City at the Plaza, and Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza, in Kansas City.

The St. Louis venues were St. Louis Union Station, Hotel Curio Collection by Hilton, Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, Marriott St. Louis Grand, and Magnolia Hotel St. Louis in St. Louis.

The students shadowed managers in two to three different departments at five different hotels over the five days. Throughout this experience, the students learned how knowledge from the classroom can be applied in real-world situations. Furthermore, the students had great networking opportunities as they spent the whole day with managers at the participating hotels. The managers were eager to share their knowledge and experience with the students.
Worthwhile Experience
Students attend spring 2017 hospitality management industry day
Matthew Maupin
Thanks to HM Career Fair, student accepted into Marriott Voyage Program
According to Matthew Maupin, pictured, a student in the Lodging management emphasis area, the Voyage program was something that was on his radar for quite some time, before even meeting with Marriott International at the HM career fair. He had his resume reviewed multiple times by CAFNR Career Services, researched typical questions Marriott asks during interviews, and practiced responses to these questions. At the fair, he was full of confidence when meeting the recruiter and she offered to interview him the next day on campus, an opportunity given to 15-20 other students.

During his interview, Marriott practiced the STAR interview format, or situation, task, action, and results. "They want you to tell them about a situation in which you were involved, lay out what your responsibilities were, the actions you took to get through it, and what the results were. It is a way for them to observe your thought process, ability to relate with others, ability to make decisions, and show off a lot of your personality," Maupin said.

The following week he found out he had make the next round. The Voyage program is one of the most competitive programs for recent college graduates – there were between 1,000-2,000 applicants – and he was one of the final 250 in the interview process. There were four students in the hospitality management program that made the cut. They flew all 250 students to Atlanta from all over the country with all expenses paid.

The event in Atlanta consisted of panels of guest speakers, presentations, meet and greets, and the networking opportunities. At the end of the session, Maupin received about 20-25 business cards, and talked to about 50-60 managers and company officials.

After days of waiting, he finally got the call for the offer in the Voyage program, He received his first location preference, in San Diego. Maupin’s advice for anyone interested in the program would be to make an outstanding impression at the career fair. “This is your first contact with recruiters from Marriott International, and could hold a lot of weight if you want to advance in the interview process.”
Taste of Missouri brought community together for nourishing, fun evening
Hundreds of hungry and thirsty townspeople, students and faculty, eager to sample what the best of Mid-Missouri’s restaurants, cafés and bistros had to offer, came together at Reynolds Alumni Center March 13 for the 32nd Annual Taste of Mid-Missouri event. This annual affair features examples of the excellent food and beverages sold in mid-Missouri area restaurants (including The University Club) while raising funds for scholarships, which go to deserving students enrolled in the University of Missouri’s Department of Hospitality Management, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR). Over the past decades more than $170,000 has been raised. Representatives from the N.H. Scheppers booth at the Taste of Missouri event are pictured above.
Recognizing Academic Success
Scholarship Awards Dinner Held April 10
Online B.S. degree ranks No. 4
We are pleased to see that our program ranked fourth in 2017 among the top 20 online hospitality management programs, according to

Prospective students may include high school graduates who may not attend on-campus classes, graduates from two-year hospitality and culinary programs, United States military culinary members, high school educators who teach hospitality and tourism subjects (e.g. ProStart and HTMP) and those who are on the job in the hospitality industry worldwide.

The Bachelor of Science degree in hospitality management consists of 120 credits hours with the curriculum being primarily centered on management skills and integrating theories, allowing students to understand the principles behind leading a successful business. The courses utilize instructional videos, demonstrations and online class discussions that nourish the peer-to-peer relationships integral to collaboration and learning. With the benefit of supporting a flexible lifestyle, these online courses are nearly identical to the hospitality management courses offered on-campus and are taught by the same professors with the same content, learning objectives and assessments.

The industry’s future is in grounding its workforce in management expertise and reducing workers who transition to and from hospitality sector jobs in a larger career trajectory. For details of the online program, please refer to: and See the latest press release at
A Tiger Roaring at US Olympic Training Center
From March 12-14, Cecelia Bolin, a senior in the Department of Hospitality Management, made a major contribution to the sports industry. As a recently hired member of the US Olympic Committee (USOC) staff, Cecilia planned, organized and successfully executed the 2017 Team USA Internship Symposium at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One hundred and fifty students from the most prominent U.S. universities attended.

At the symposium, students received instruction and advice regarding career-related topics and had the chance to interact with 26 different departments within the USOC. The USOC hires 50 interns each year and the symposium is the main gateway for the opportunity.

Cecilia’s success creates a great image for our program and opens doors for future hospitality management students in one of the most prominent sporting organizations in the world. Faculty members Drs. Amanda Alexander and Mauro Palmero attended the symposium with hospitality management students to gain first-hand information. Cecilia Bolin (right) and Dr. Amanda Alexander (left) are pictured above at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
SVM team competes in SEVT Case Study Competition
Dr. Lincoln Marshall, pictured on far left, led the sport venue management student team to compete in the Sport Entertainment & Venues Tomorrow (SEVT) Case Study competition March 22–24 at the University of South Carolina.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the conference. Approximately 250 sport venue students from around the U.S. and Ireland attended. Two highlights of this three-day event included a case study competition as well as a career and internship fair. The University of Missouri team was represented by (pictured from left) Keegan Gilligan, Rachel Manns, Rebekah Northern and Joseph Mandina.

In the case study competition, students were tasked with trying to decide the best location of a sand volleyball tournament. It was a time-consuming case, but the team enjoyed the fact that there was not one clear-cut answer but only logical positions students could defend. They presented their analysis of the case to the judges, which was a great learning experience for them because they had the chance to hear from competing teams who had a different perspective. In addition, students participated in a career fair that the SEVT put on. They found it to be a very good learning experience to meet with different organizations that are not in the Midwest. They learned about the different types of organizations in sports beyond college and professional athletics. 

“I would like to thank the department for the opportunity to participate in the SEVT conference. We had a great time and learned a lot of new things while we were there,” said Keegan Gilligan. “We were able to talk with a lot of professors from various schools and learn about their programs and what they offer. It was interesting to hear from Ulster University, which is in Northern Ireland. We also got a tour from the University of South Carolina athletics staff of their football stadium and basketball arena. It was a special experience to see how other SEC schools put on their sporting events in comparison to Mizzou.”
Student Organizations
Mizzou Special Events Society (MSES)
Mizzou Special Events Society is a student organization open to all students interested in the special events industry. It was founded by 10 hospitality management students in the spring of 2014. Since then, the organization has grown to more than 60 members. MSES works closely with the St. Louis ILEA (International Live Events Association) chapter and hopes to become the first official ILEA Student Chapter in the nation as well as hold the title for largest student membership. Executive officers include Abigale Buckland. Dr. Amanda Alexander serves as the faculty advisor. 

Since the establishment of MSES, the group have been involved in networking events and professional development opportunities across the nation. This semester has been busy with many guest speakers, venue tours and the Louie Awards. The Louie Awards is an award show for the ILEA STL chapter where events put on throughout the year are recognized. Students have volunteered the past several years, and it always provides members with a perfect opportunity to assist the event planners, learn the process of an event from start to finish and to network with the professionals in St. Louis.

April 21-22, the organization headed back to St. Louis for an educational event, student mixer and networking tours at Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village and Hilton at The Arch. 

As the organization grows, so will the opportunities for members to learn the ins and outs of this ever-changing industry. Mizzou Special Events Society members Libby Galligan, Lauren Zigman, Connie Wang, and Hannah Witzig are pictured above at the Louie Awards.
Club Managers Association of America (CMAA)
In November 2016, three members of the CMAA student chapter traveled to Philadelphia for the CMAA Student Conference. In February 2017, four students traveled to Orlando, Florida, for the CMAA World Conference and Club Business Expo. Both conferences provided members with the opportunity to tour private clubs, attend educational sessions and network with industry professional from around the country.

On March 20, the Mizzou Student Chapter hosted CMAA Day. Fifteen private club managers from Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia spent the afternoon on campus. We started the day with lunch at Eckles Café and proceeded by touring Buck’s Ice Cream, Tiger Garden and the University Club. A question-and-answer panel featuring four of the club managers followed the tour and the evening concluded with a social at Sorenson Estate (pictured above).

Thanks in part to our organization and the professional networking opportunities, two students have gained full-time positions at country clubs following their May 2017 graduation and three students have obtained internships for the summer.
Mizzou Association of Venue Managers (MAVA)
MAVA is a student organization focused on hard work, dedication and helping students develop professionally. Throughout our history we have brought multiple networking opportunities to our students including tours and panel discussions at venues like Sporting Park, Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, Scottrade Center in St. Louis; Kauffman Stadium, Sprint Center, Children’s Mercy Park (formerly Sporting Parking) Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City; Bridgestone Arena, Vanderbilt University Athletics Department in Nashville; U.S. Cellular Field, Wrigley Field, Soldier Field in Chicago and University of Memphis, FedEx Forum and Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis.

In addition to meeting professionals at these locations we have also established relationships that have brought about internship opportunities and volunteer opportunities. While we enjoy providing opportunities like these to our members, we also focus on professional development and giving back to our community.

We have taken part in philanthropic events, have offered programs to our members to become certified crowd managers and learned tips for things such as résumés, interviews and social media usage. The president of MAVA is Keegan Gilligan and the faculty advisor is Mauro Palmero.

MAVA officers and members are pictured above at the Liberty Bowl Memorial stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. Front row: Cara Passi, Jessica Koziol, Anne Daly, Rebekah Norther, Melissa Mars, Caty Bier, Isabel Rand, Maddy DeRose, Libby Galligan, and Rachel Manns. Back row: Jackson Ismert, Matt Jones, Brett Maupin, Shane Williams, Keegan Gilligan, Brian Renz, Richard Edwards and Matthew Cummings.
Newly established Mizzou Hotel & Lodging Student Association (MHLSA)
This semester the Department of Hospitality Management is happy to introduce the new Mizzou Hotel & Lodging Student Association (MHLSA). This organization has been created with the aim to better connect and prepare students before they begin careers within the lodging industry.

With a focus on mentorship and cultivation of professional skills, this organization will grow into an invaluable tool for students inside the emphasis area. By reaching out to local professionals, this organization already has and will continue to help eliminate the gap between the local hospitality industry and the students of this department.

Through forums, professional events/development, job shadowing and access to internships, this group hopes to offer something for everyone. The group has the ultimate goal of taking those students to attend the Hotel Experience (HX) conference in New York. If you have any questions or wish to find out any more information, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mizzou_hlsa) or email us at
Graduate Corner
Graduate students present at Graduate Hospitality & Tourism Conference in Houston
The hospitality management program participated in and sponsored the 22nd Graduate Hospitality & Tourism Conference in Houston Jan. 4-7. Dr. Eliza Tse, department chair, Dr. Pei Liu, and four graduate students attended the conference and promoted the program at the career fair portion of the conference. The MU hospitality management program was well represented in Houston with research and poster presentations. Students presented and benefited from the networking opportunities. Our Ph.D. student, Seunghwan Lee (advisor Dae-Young Kim), presented his study, “What causes Airbnb users’ negative emotion?” and received the best paper nomination out of 283 submissions.
Alumni Corner
You are invited to be part of the LinkedIn project initiative
Drs. Eliza Tse and Lincoln Marshall recently met with the MU Alumni Association office to discuss tracking alumni information and activities. It is a major goal of the department to build a strong bond with our alumni by reaching out to and hearing from graduates. The first step for an alumni base is to build an alumni directory. However, in the alumni list from the university, roughly half of them do not have an email address to make contact. Because we find it critical that this list be updated, the student group Mizzou Association of Venue Managers (MAVM) began a new initiative and tracked and updated the database using LinkedIn, a professional social media platform. More than 1,300 hospitality management alumni were identified. The next step is to invite these alumni to join the MU hospitality management LinkedIn account so we can reach out to them with future correspondence.

There are three ways that you can help in creating a strong alumni bond:
  • Please accept our invitation to be part of the LinkedIn group so we can reach out to you. Feel free to reach out to us with updates and news.
  • We are also looking for alumni who wish to be the class representative for their graduation year. Please drop us a brief note at if you can offer your service. We thank those of you who have volunteered and would like more of you to join this initiative.
  • We know you may keep up with some of your classmates, so we strongly encourage you to share with us their contacts so we can complete our alumni list and include them in our newsletter mailing list.
Industry Corner
A Legacy of Hospitality
Three generations of the Bond family reflect on their commitment to the industry and to MU
Congratulations to John LaRocca, 2017 Missouri Restaurant Association State President
Hospitality management faculty attended the inaugural Awards Celebration of the Missouri Restaurant Association in February. The hospitality management program was a gold level sponsor of the event. This is a way for us to thank the association that makes it a high priority to invest in hospitality management students, the future of the industry.

We offered our congratulations to John LaRocca, who was inducted as the 2017 MRA President. LaRocca, general manager of The University Club of MU, began his career in hospitality by washing dishes at his father’s Italian restaurant in St. Louis. He has more than 40 years of hospitality industry experience, including management positions with Marriott Hotels & Resorts and private club management – and also as an entrepreneur. He has managed the University Club since 2006.

LaRocca joined the hospitality management program as an adjunct professor in the fall of 2016. He is the past president of University Club General Managers Association and Columbia Chapter of Missouri Restaurant Association. He is dedicated to giving back to his profession and is very involved in several community projects. 

Congratulations also to Lydia Melton, founder and CEO of Gunter Hans in Columbia as the 2017 Mid-Missouri Restaurant Association President. We will work closely with her and the board members of MRA in the coming year to strengthen our collaborative partnership. Pictured above, left to right: Department of Hospitality Management Faculty Drs. Pei Liu, Dae-young Kim, Eliza Tse, Beverly Wilson-Wunsch, Mr. John LaRocca and Lincoln Marshall at the University Club for the 2017 Missouri Restaurant Association Awards Celebration.
Hospitality Management Happenings
Photo Gallery (click to view)
Copyright © 2017 Curators of the University of Missouri. Published by CAFNR. Questions about this newsletter? Eliza C. Tse, Ph.D., Professor and Chair: | 573.882.4100