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Honoring Erik

In 2007, Richard S. Ruiz, MD, founder and director of the Cizik Eye Center at Memorial Hermann Hospital, initiated a campaign that raised funds to create the Erik J. Worscheh Visiting Lecturer Endowment. Donors, including Dr. Ruiz, are long-time friends and family of Erik and have been the beneficiaries of his expertise and congeniality over many decades of friendship and professional interaction. The series honors this Houston icon of private club management and celebrated personality in the food and beverage industry.


The annual Erik J. Worscheh Lecture Series was created in 2009 to honor Erik Worscheh, hospitality executive and supporter of Hilton College, and to recognize his dedication to teaching, hard work and the art of fine service.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Erik began his career in hospitality at an early age working at his family’s hotel in Weseritz. After World War II and college-level hospitality training from the University of Nuremberg in Germany, he followed his sister and her American husband to the United States.

Erik landed in New York City, where he launched his career as a kitchen steward at the Waldorf-Astoria. Relocating to California, he worked at Riverside’s Mission Inn Hotel. He later joined Hilton Hotels at the Beverly Hilton as day-shift room service manager before moving to Houston in 1958 to work as catering director and banquet manager for the Shamrock Hilton. He spent a decade at the Shamrock before moving to the AstroWorld Hotel and then the Petroleum Club, where he became general manager in 1972. He remained the general manager until his retirement in June 1986.

Erik took great pride in teaching the craft of hospitality to aspiring young managers, and introduced generations of Houstonians to Europe’s fine dining and hospitality traditions. He was also instrumental in working with Eric and Barron Hilton to motivate Conrad Hilton to support the development of a hotel school at the University of Houston. Today, that school is known as the Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership.

The hospitality world lost an icon when Erik passed away in June 2011. He was married to Mary Worscheh and they have a son, Mark, daughter-in-law, Sue, and three granddaughters.