SHRM 30th Anniversary Celebrations Begin Fall 2016

Posted: Wednesday, May 4th 2016 at 12:22 PM

By Kelly Johnston, FCB Student Writer

In Fall 2016, Northern Arizona University’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management will be celebrating our 30th anniversary by taking a look back at where it all began as we envision our future. 

In the late 1980’s, NAU faculty thought that creating a stand-alone school encompassing both hospitality and food service education would be better suited for a trade school environment, but then-NAU President Eugene M. Hughes disagreed. He fought for its establishment with renewed vigor after working for the Sheraton Corporation in New York City during a sabbatical. Ground broke on the stand-alone building in December 1987, and was completed with a grand opening and ceremonial ribbon cutting on June 10, 1989.

So much of starting something new depends on the fierce dedication of people who believe in the cause and support it through both failure and success. Dr. Gary Vallen has been teaching at HRM since its inception. Today he reflects on the progress of the school with which he has spent so much of his career.

“I’ve watched HRM grow from a start-up program in 1988 to become one of the largest hospitality programs in the USA. We started as an independent, stand-alone school with maybe 100 majors. That first year saw us open the Inn at NAU with 19 hotel rooms and a 50-seat restaurant. Today we boast about 800 students,” Vallen says.

Dr. Galen Collins arrived at HRM that first year as well. He credits its early success to those gathered by Hughes and the first dean of the school, Dr. Peter van Kleek. “The team we had was a good nucleus. Our rise in the rankings was pretty rapid for the age of our unit,” he shares.

It is in this spirit that SHRM prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Events will occur over the span of the academic year, including a “create your own adventure” activity in the SHRM building with a progressive tour to engage with current students and learn about SHRM’s history, as well as participation in homecoming festivities. There will be a black tie event, “An Evening with President Hughes” to honor the president who championed the program’s establishment. Spring semester will see a reboot of the “SHRM Olympics,” as well as a “Polos and Porter” small plate beer pairing featuring a 30th anniversary porter brewed by SHRM’s Chef Mark Molinaro and the Northern Arizona Craft Beer Association. We are excited to showcase the 2010 renovation, which includes our state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen and beverage lab. 

Dr. Wanda Costen, the executive director of SHRM explained, “We plan to reach out to our alumni and invite them back to the Flagstaff mountain campus for several events. This is an opportunity to celebrate our history and share our strategic vision for the future of SHRM with our alumni and partners.”

So stay tuned for dates to be announced as we celebrate this wonderful institution at NAU, the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Categories: shrm 30th anniversary celebrations begin fall 2016 flagstaff business news nau business news may 2016 spring 2016 2016 dr. wanda costen eugene m. hughes gary vallen galen collins wanda costen nbn fbn kelly johnston