Twenty-three scholars were inducted into Eta Sigma Delta, the international honor society which recognizes exceptional academic achievement among hospitality and tourism students, on Thursday, April 14. Administered by the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE), Eta Sigma Delta was founded in 1978, and The School of Hospitality Business established a chapter at MSU in 1991.
In addition, the chapter inducted Alumni Association Hall of Fame member Zoe Peckman Slagle (BA ’59, MA ’64) as an honorary member, and recognized the service and dedication of the 2015-2016 student executive board of The School’s Hospitality Association.
Chapter President Cameron Armstrong (BA ’16) welcomed the group which included the inductees and members, faculty and staff, and student leaders. Faculty Advisor Dr. Jae Min Cha also spoke, providing a brief history of the organization, as well as the professional and educational benefits of membership. She outlined the many community service activities of the group during the past year, including staffing and assisting with crafts and bake good at Lansing’s annual Silver Bells in the City Holiday event in November; working with the Lansing City Market to host its annual Easter Egg Hunt for children; and participating in MSU’s Relay for Life.
Dr. Cha confirmed that the evening’s inductees met the criteria eligibility for Eta Sigma Delta:
- completion of 50 percent of the credit hours required for graduation
- enrollment in The School of Hospitality Business
- ranking above the top 20th percentile in class standings
Current and future Eta Sigma Delta executive board members discussed the society’s five points of honor: leadership, excellence, creativity, service, and ethics.
Introducing Honorary Inductee Zoe Slagle, Cameron told her inspiring story. She graduated from what was then the Restaurant Management Department in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at a time when there were only two women in her graduating class. Throughout her career she helped spearhead the movement of women into leadership roles in the hospitality industry.
As a student, Zoe volunteered for the new “Les Gourmets,” serving as its secretary and vice president, as decorations and food chairs for the club’s dinner dance, and eventually as its chair. She helped design and staff the School’s booth at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago and worked with the WKAR TV program Man in the Kitchen, broadcast live from campus. During her time on campus she was selected “Restaurant Student of the Year.”
Settling in East Lansing, Zoe’s post-college career started at the Kellogg Center on campus, where she supervised the food service facilities, serving 2,000 meals per day and managing and training a staff of 70. Married to James and raising a family soon after, Zoe left the hospitality industry for 10 years to become an elementary school teacher, allowing her to be with her two sons, Bradford John and Clark Peckman, after school.
Upon returning to the industry, Zoe again made an impact. She served as the coordinator of the Child Care Food Program for the Michigan Department of Education, feeding more than 70,000 children per day in 7,700 sites, and expanding the federal food reimbursement program for day care in Michigan from $1.4 million to $17 million during her tenure. Zoe later became the administrator of Food Distribution and Fiscal Reporting for the Michigan Department of Education, responsible for the federal Commodity Food Distribution Program assisting seniors and women, infants, and children until 1998.
Teaching and consulting since then, Zoe owns her own business, Zoe P. Slagle Consulting. She continues to be an example to all students by participating in The School’s Spartan Sponsors Mentor Program. She has served for many years as a member of The School’s Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors, and she and her husband James are generous donors and frequent visitors to The School, regularly attending Les Gourmets.
Zoe Slagle is a tireless advocate for The School and has more energy than the students themselves! She encouraged the students to maintain their youthful energy as they move into the working world. Noting that the five points of honor are common practices for Spartan alumni, she advised the students to put the guidelines into practice in their daily lives. She offered her congratulations on their academic achievement, saying it foretells their future success.
After the new inductees repeated the Eta Sigma Delta oath and received their certificates, cords, and pins, School Director Dr. Michael McCall gave closing remarks. The evening concluded with a reception in the Kellogg Center.