Giving back to ensure continued excellence.

The School’s strong network of graduates is exemplified by the impressive representation of industry talent on our Alumni Association Executive and Appointed Boards. These board members demonstrate unwavering support for The School and its students, “giving back” through their time, energy and enthusiasm to ensure continued excellence. Our students benefit from this strong industry support and connectivity thanks to the dedication and loyalty of these hospitality executives.

Board Engagement

The Executive Board of Directors, consisting entirely of alumni, oversees the activities of the Alumni Association. The Appointed Board of Directors consists of graduates and non-graduates from all segments of leadership within the hospitality industry, who act as a group of advocates for The School and its mission.

The Alumni Association Board fulfills its mission in a number of ways that benefit The School. It sponsors several major events:

  • Executive & Appointed Board of Directors members’ meetings, held each May in Chicago and each Homecoming on campus
  • Homecoming parade and after-parade tailgate, game day reception and football game each fall
  • Celebration of Leadership Award Ceremony and Reception in November during the HX: Hotel Experience Trade Show in New York City
  • Annual Destination Auction (jointly hosted by the Alumni Association and Hospitality Association) each February
  • Annual Gathering of Leaders Award Ceremony and Reception in May during the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago
  • Alumni Reunion Days (breakfast) held in conjunction with the spring football game in April

Each year, the Alumni Association also recognizes:

  • Inductees in its Hall of Fame
  • Industry Leader of the Year
  • Spartan Champion Award (not annually)
  • Alumnus/a of the Year
  • Emerging Alumnus/a Leader of the Year
  • Honorary Alumnus/a of the Year
  • Faculty/Staff Member of the Year
  • Lifetime Academic Achievement Award
  • Alumnus/a of the Month

The School's Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors


James Kauffman (BA ’75)


Allegra Johnson (BA ’91)


James F. Anhut (MBA ’85)
Passionality Group


Martha Zehnder Kaczynski (BA ’03)
Vice President
Bavarian Inn Lodge


Richard Farrar, (BA ’73)
The Farrar Consulting Group


John Belden (BA ’85)
President & Chief Executive Officer
Davidson Hotels & Resorts

Carl Borchgrevink
The School of Hospitality Business

Kevin J. Brown (BA ’77)
President & Chief Executive Officer
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.

Carol L. Campbell (BA ’98)
Managing Director, Consumer Insight
Delta Air Lines

Ronald F. Cichy (BA ’72, MBA ’77)
The School of Hospitality Business

Jackie Collens (BA ’07)
Asset Manager
Ty Warner Hotels & Resorts

Jay Dee Cutting (BA ’61)

Hans Desai (BA ’79)
Vice President
Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Gary Finnell (BA ’79)
Senior DirectorDevelopment – SE Region

Philip J. Hickey, Jr. (BA ’77)
Miller’s Ale House Restaurants

Erik Liedholm (BA ’93)
Company Wine Director/Partner
John Howie Restaurants

Bob Pierce (BA ’83)
General Manager
The Dearborn Inn

Grant Sabroff (BA ’84)
Senior Vice President, Business Development
Concord Hospitality Enterprises Company

Houston Striggow (BA ’75)
Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer
SusieCakes Bakeries

Peter J. Weien (BA ’81)
Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Opryland Entertainment

Stu Wolff (BA ’82)
Business Coach, Professional EOS Implementer
Wolff Leadership


Jeffrey D. Anderson (BA ’90)
General Manager
The Toledo Club

James E. Burba (BA ’77)
Burba Hotel Network

Bradley N. Cance (BA ’89)
General Manager
The Cavalier Hotel

John Flood (BA ’80)
Founder & Managing Director

Jeremy J. Mourey (BA ’00)
Operations Director
Premiere Food Service, Inc., a Creative
Dining Company


Neil F. Barnhart (BA ’64, MBA ’65)

Richard C. Conti (MBA ’76)
Senior Managing Director
The Plasencia Group

Kenneth D. Hill (BA ’56)

Jon Kennedy (BA ’73)
Senior Vice President
Grandstay Hospitality

John M. O’Donnell (BA ’69)
General Manager & Chief Operating Officer
St. Clair Golf Club

Zoe P. Slagle (BA ’59, MA ’64)

Angelos J. Vlahakis (BA ’51)

Lou Weckstein (BA ’58)

Robert A. Wills (BA ’70)


Dan E. Burdakin (BA ’81)
Distinguished Alumnus

Dan W. Darrow (MBA ’61)
Palm Hospitality Company

Chuck Day (BA ’91)
Regional Director of Revenue Management Services
InterContinental Hotels Group

Billy Downs (BA ’88)
Ford’s Garage Dearborn

Michael H. Getto (BA ’56)
Destination Ambassador
Marriott Hotel & Spa Newport Beach

Marc J. Gordon (MBA ’73)

John P. Hawes (BA ’73)
Senior Partner

J. Bruce Lange (BA ’78)
Managing Director
Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Dan H. Mathews, Jr. (BA ’66)

Jerry A. McVety (BA ’67)
McVety & Associates, LLC

Michael W. Murray (BA ’81)
Chief Operating Officer

Mary Ann Ramsey (BA ’75)
Owner & President
Betty Maclean Travel, Inc.

Mike Rice (BA ’91)
Business Development Director
Hotel Contracting Services, Inc.

Susan K. Smith (BA ’59)
Food Technologies, Inc.

John Theuer (BA ’83, MBA ’83)
Chief Financial Officer
Eureka Restaurant Group

Ken Weber (BA ’77)
Weber’s Restaurant & Boutique Hotel

William A. Zehnder (BA ’71)
Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn Restaurant

The School's Alumni Association Appointed Board of Directors


Ryleigh Kuhn (BA ’20)
Chief Executive Officer
Hospitality Association

Lucy Tomer (BA ’20)
Chief Executive Officer
Destination Auction 2020


Matthew D. Anderson (BA ’09)
Chief Brand Office
Engaged Education

Mark C. Auerbach (BA ’65)
Auerbach Hotel Associates

Ross D. Bartlett (BA ’10)
Assistant General Manager
The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

Dan Briks (BA ’04)
Hotel Manager
The Lexington NYC

Richard A. Bruner (MLRHR ’77)
Professor of Practice
The School of Hospitality Business

Marc L. Cassier, Jr. (BA ’89)
Vice President, Conference Services & Catering Sales
Accor Hotels – North America

Alexandra Clark (BA ’10)
Owner & Chief Executive Officer
Bon Bon Bon

Art Davis (BA ’88)
Director of Finance
The Drake Chicago

Brian DeMeester (BA ’98)
Executive Housekeeper
The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

David DuBois (BA ’78)
President & Chief Executive Officer
International Association of Exhibitions & Events

Chris Durso (BA ’82)
Vice President of Global Accounts
Oracle Hospitality

Jesse Eisenhuth (BA ’00)
Customer Development Specialist
Gordon Food Service

Paul Finstad (BA ’13)
Vice President of Hotel Acquisitions & Asset Management
Watermark Capital Partners

Kelly Fitzgerald (BA ’08)
Area Director of People & Culture

Jeffrey R. Gillett (BA ’86)
Senior Vice President
The Elliot Group

John C. Guy (BA ’80)
General Manager & Chief Operating Officer
Westmoreland Country Club

Jennifer Hajduk (BA ’98)
Complex Director of Catering & Events
Hilton (O’Hare & Rosemont)

Joel A. Halperin (BA ’07)
Regional Collaborator
Hillstone Restaurant Group

Joaquin de la Cerda Harlow (BA ’15)
Front of House Manager
Flowers of Vietnam

Gary R. Hernbroth (BA ’79)
Chief Motivating Officer
Training for Winners

Jason Hilliard (BA ’95)
West Region District Manager
Aramark Business Dining

Aaron Ide (BA ’98)
Resort Manager
Four Seasons – The Biltmore

Lindsay Jarvis (BA ’08)
General Manager
Hyatt Place Grand Rapids

Kevin S. Kennebeck (BA ’88)
General Manager
Ruth Lake Country Club

Andrew J. Kern
Executive Managing Director
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

Davlyn King (BS ’95, BA ’99)
Regional Director of Revenue Management
InterContinental Hotels Group

Stephen E. LaHaie (MBA ’77)
Senior Vice President of Shaw’s Crab House
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.

Nadia Kilgore (BA ’11)
Catering Sales Manager
Four Seasons

Curtis Lease (BA ’91)
Director of Business Development
Aramark Business Dining

Kurt Lefler (BA ’88)
District General Manager
Compass Group

Shelley MacMillan (BA ’73)
Silver Maples of Chelsea

Luke Magnini (BA ’12)
Restaurant General Manager & Certified Sommelier
Restoration Hardware

John G. Malone (BA ’82)
Area Director – Franchise Services
Choice Hotels International

Kevin Maul (BA ’96)
Regional Director – Revenue Management
Interstate Hotels & Resorts

James McHenry (BA ’14)
Sales Manager
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park

James L. McKillips (BA ’75)

Russ Melaragni (BA ’79)
Vice President of Colleague Relations
Hyatt Corporation

Michael Moriarty (BA ’11)
Eastdil Secured

Kerri Morrell (BA ’05)
Senior Regional Revenue Manager
White Lodging Services

Saundra J. Moton (BA ’77, MS ’89)
Redmond Moton & Associates

Scott Ninemeier (BA ’06)
Clubhouse Manager
Kent Country Club

Mark R. O’Brien (BA ’89)
Vice President of Lodging
Boyne Mountain Resort

Jake Olsman (BA ’08)
Real Estate Services Solutions Company

Kit Pappas (BA ’82)
Vice President of Hotel Management
Tavistock Development Company

John W. Pharr (BA ’69)
Strand Development Company

Jason C. Rabidoux (BA ’04)
Vice President of Business Development
Davidson Hotels & Resorts

Nate Redner (BA ’12)
Wine Director, Oyster Bah
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.

Michael Rodden (BA ’81)
General Manager
Indianapolis Marriott East Hotel

Kristina Rudnik (BA ’13)
Human Resources Coordinator
Golub Capital

Rob Sadoff (BA ’00)
Scarlett Hotel Group

Ben Schwartz (BA ’72)
Harper Associates

Keith H. Shopnick (BA ’98)
Managing Director
Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa

Joseph Shurmur (BA ’90)
Vice President of Operations
Greenwood Hospitality

Matthew A. Sparks (BA ’84)
Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Officer
Park Hotels & Resorts

Rose Spickler (BA ’12)
Adjunct Faculty
Culinary Institute of Michigan
Baker College

Scott Steilen (BA ’91)
President & Chief Executive Officer
The Sea Island Company

Kevin Swanquist (BA ’08)
Executive Recruiter
Harper Associates

Christopher Tatum (BA ’81)
President & Chief Executive Officer
Hawaii Tourism Agency

Steven B. Thompson (BA ’87)
General Manager
Saddle & Cycle Club

John Triblo (BA ’10)
Senior Strategic Sales Manager

Mike Tueros (BA ’97)
Director of Meeting and Event Management
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Thomas Wagner (BA ’97)
Senior Regional Director of Operations
Levy Restaurants

Blair Wills (BA ’02)
President & Chief Operating Officer
StepStone Hospitality

Mary Winslow (BA ’91)
Senior Vice President of Strategic Solutions
Luckie & Company

Kurt B. Wisniewski (BA ’94)
National Account Executive
Starbucks Coffee Company

Terri Woodin (BA ’88)
Vice President of Marketing & Global Meetings Meeting Sites Resource

Philip Zeller (BA ’96)
Owner & Chief Executive Officer
Dale Carnegie Training by Ralph Nichols
Group, Inc.

Faculty/Staff Member of the Year Award

This award is presented in October each year at the Homecoming board meeting. The criteria are:

  • Recognize and honor faculty member(s) and/or staff member(s) who creatively deliver the educational experience inside and/or outside of the classroom, create new synergies through their work and/or research, and then apply it to their service and/or teaching
  • Open to all full-time and part-time faculty and support staff who have had a positive effect on positioning The School as the leader in hospitality business education by demonstrating integrity, ethics in the classroom and the workplace, and rigorous personal and professional standards
  • Efforts should have an industry-related focus
  • Solid relationship with students, alumni, faculty and staff
  • Involved in Hospitality Association and Alumni Association activities
  • Recognize faculty and/or staff members who help and collaborate with students, alumni and other faculty members
  • Can be given to an individual or team
  • Not a lifetime achievement award, but rather a reward to recognize The School’s faculty and staff for helping students, alumni and other faculty collaborate

2018 Staff Member of the Year
Jeff Yingling

2017 Faculty Member of the Year
Jeff Elsworth

2016 Staff Member of the Year
Chris Moening

2015 Faculty Member of the Year
Ronald F. Cichy

2014 Staff Member of the Year
James F. Rainey

2013 Faculty Member of the Year
Michael Kasavana

2012 Staff Member of the Year
Lois Schroeder

2011 Faculty Member of the Year
Bonnie Knutson

2010 Staff Member of the Year
Jamie Lyon

2009 Faculty Member of the Year
Raymond Schmidgall

2008 Staff Member of the Year
Lena Loeffler

2007 Faculty Member of the Year
A.J. Singh

2006 Staff Member of the Year
Authella Collins Hawks