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June 2015

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Spring Graduation
Goodbye to Another Awesome Class of Grads
The Spring Class of 2015 walked across the graduation stage and into the real world on May 14, and they’re already missed! This was the College’s largest graduating class to date, with nearly 220 undergrads and graduate students earning diplomas at our main Houston campus, and another 13 students graduating from the Conrad N. Hilton College – Lima in Peru. Dean John Bowen and Associate Dean Mary Dawson flew to Lima in early June to confer diplomas and kudos to our graduates there. This semester, three students received the Alumni Award for Scholastic Excellence: undergraduate Sergio Fernandez Flores and graduate students Meutia Irataliana and Yoo Hee Hwang, who also won the Dean’s Award for graduates. The undergraduate Dean’s Award winners were Clara Snelson and Jackie Castaneda. After commencement at Hofheinz Pavilion, a reception for the graduates and their families was held at the Hilton University of Houston, where the awards were handed out. In addition to the student awards, four awards were given to outstanding faculty and staff. Assistant Professor Cristian Morosan won the Stephen Rushmore/HVS Faculty Research Award, Lecturer Elizabeth Whalen won the Donald Greenaway Teaching Excellence Award, Lecturer Arlene Ramirez won the Service Excellence Award and IT Manager Gautam Taneja won the Staff Excellence Award. Big congrats to all of the award winners and the entire Spring Class of 2015. We know you’ll continue to make Hilton College proud! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Dean Bowen Party
A Tropical Sendoff for Dean Bowen
When you’ve been dean for more than a decade, you’ve got a lot to celebrate. And that’s exactly what happened after the graduation reception on May 14 at Dean John Bowen’s surprise, Jimmy Buffett-themed farewell party with current and former faculty and staff, alumni and friends of the College. As you probably know, Dean Bowen is a low-key guy and didn’t want a big fuss, so the entire surprise soiree had to be orchestrated right under his nose by party-planner extraordinaire Donna Shaw. While the Dean (pictured above with his wife, Toni) attended graduation and the reception, the Barron’s patio got an island-themed makeover, complete with Jimmy Buffett tunes, margaritas and delicious bites courtesy of Chef Anthony Chevalier. Shout out to Donna, Chef Anthony and the other volunteers who helped make this party a success. And thank you Dean Bowen for more than 12 years of leadership! You’ve earned your well-deserved rest! (Photo: Michael Scott)
Wei Syn Tan
Rubbing Elbows With the Big Shots at Hilton Worldwide
As the Hilton Brand Performance Support Intern for Hilton Worldwide in McLean, Virginia, current student WeiSyn Tan is in good company. How good? She’s rubbing elbows with executives on a daily basis, including Hilton Worldwide President & CEO Chris Nassetta, pictured above at his bayfront home in Maryland with Tan (left) and current student Giang Dang (right), a summer intern at a Hilton property in New York. Tan, a member of the NACE-UH board and current general manager of the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor, is one of just 36 corporate interns at the Hilton headquarters. She’s charged with assisting the Brand Performance Support team to make sure Hilton properties are compliant with brand standards set by the company. An international student from Malaysia, Tan is especially interested in working for a global hotel company and navigating the international business aspects of the job. “The best thing about being in McLean is meeting the people who work on a global scale and understand what’s happening on the other side of the world. I want to see what Hilton Worldwide does to make sure everything they do works globally,” she said. Eventually, Tan says she’d like to return to Asia after graduation and work for an international hotel company like Hilton, possibly in quality assurance. With the connections she’s making now, we think the sky’s the limit. Way to represent the HC, WeiSyn! (Photo: WeiSyn Tan)
Food safety summit
College Hosts First Annual Food Safety Summit
The scientific side of hospitality took its turn in the spotlight on June 1, when Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services put on its first annual Harris County Food Safety Summit, right here at the College. More than 230 foodservice professionals from across the Greater Houston area came to the sold-out event to attend workshops and learn about tools and resources for better food safety. Among the attendees were restaurant managers, caterers, school foodservice operators and—of course—student volunteers. Dr. Jay Neal was among the featured speakers at the summit. His lecture covered behavior-based training for hand-washing and included data from research conducted by recent graduate Chandler Yu (MS ’15). After lectures by Neal and others, breakout sessions were held on topics like interpreting information on Harris County inspection reports, food permits, county rules and regulations, foodborne illness prevention, managerial strategies and more. Most of us may not understand the science behind food safety, but it’s so critical to our industry. Many thanks to HCPHES, Dr. Neal and his student volunteers for their role in this important industry event! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)
Brittany Brown
Alumni Spotlight: At Manor House, Brittany Brown Does It All
If you ask Brittany Brown (’12) about her career path, she’ll tell you that hospitality “chased her down and picked her.” And she’s right. Her passion for the industry first started in restaurants, where she worked for 10 years before starting at Houston Community College and transferring here. As a student, she focused on food & beverage, served as the beverage manager for Gourmet Night 2011 and the president of the NACE-UH chapter. After graduation, those NACE connections came through. She was immediately hired as the assistant manager for Manor House, a restaurant and private event facility onsite at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa that’s hosted dignitaries from the world over, including the King of Spain, Jack Nicholson and George H.W. Bush. After just a year and a half, she became general manager, overseeing 14 employees and reporting directly to the Houstonian’s F&B director. It’s a unique job, because she’s not only managing a restaurant, but also running a bustling event venue. But that’s just the way she likes it. “When I was about to graduate and people would ask me if I wanted to do F&B or catering and events, I would always say ‘both,’ which is crazy. But this job actually allows me to do it all. It’s the best of both worlds,” Brown said. And though she rarely has a moment to herself, her efforts have paid off. Last year was the busiest on record for Manor House, and Brown hopes to continue to grow its profitability and reputation as a premiere event venue in Houston. Her advice for those wanting to pursue a similar path? Find a mentor and get involved. “You have to know how to network and maximize your involvement. Put your name out there—that’s how I got my job!” she said. “It’s important to find somewhere you’re appreciated; where you can succeed. You have to love what you do.” Great advice from an outstanding alum! You make the HC proud, Brittany! (Photo: Taylor Wiley)