The Alumni Association of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University hosted its annual award breakfast on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Alumni, faculty, and family gathered to honor Alumna Dr. Sara Parks (MBA ’70) with the Alumni Association’s Lifetime Academic Achievement Award during the 2015 International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) Conference. Among those present were several former graduate students of Dr. Parks and ICHRIE Conference Keynote Speaker Dave George (BA ’79), President of Olive Garden. Dave will be inducted into The School’s Alumni Association Hall of Fame this Fall.

McCall, Parks, and Schmidgall.Dr. Parks has had an impressive career. After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in foods and nutrition and completing a dietetic internship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, she took a position with St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, eventually directing its entire nutrition department. She also commuted to MSU and earned an MBA in what is now The School of Hospitality Business.

While at MSU, she met Dr. Thomas Powers, who recruited her to join him at Penn State in 1971 after he became the director of the Hotel Administration program. With her combined business and dietetics background, Dr. Parks began a lifetime career in education, and earned her Ph.D. at Penn State in Higher Education Administration. During those years, she was a pioneer in extending the reach of the school’s academic programs to help currently working food service professionals earn degrees through distance education, or independent learning.

She became the associate dean of the College of Health and Human Development in 1987. From 2001 – 2004, Dr. Parks served as the director of the School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Recreational Management, and retired emerita in 2004 from what is now known as the School of Hospitality Management.

A nutritionist and long-time member of the American Dietetic Association (president in 1993-1994), Dr. Parks received that organization’s highest honor, the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award, in 1996. She has received numerous other academic awards, including the Amoco Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Education; the Shirley Hendrick Award for Outstanding Academic Leadership from Penn State’s University Outreach Division in 2001; Educator of the Year award from the PSU College of Education in 2002; and the Stevenson Fletcher Award from I-CHRIE in 2004.

Dr. Parks was gracious accepting her award, thanking the Alumni Association, as well as her partner and husband of over 40 years, Henry W. Parks, Jr. She referred to the powerful influence on her research and teaching of Dr. William Lazer, professor emeritus of Marketing in MSU’s Broad College of Business, and “adopted” professor in The School. And she noted that while she was director at Penn State, she learned all she could from hospitality industry partners. “We cannot do good education or academic planning without our alumni and industry partners,” she said.

School Director Michael McCall says, “Dr. Parks is most deserving of this award. She is a pioneer in the field and she truly has made lifetime contributions. We are pleased to have been able to honor such an outstanding teacher and scholar and to call her one of our own.”

Additional accomplishments from The School of Hospitality Business at 2015 ICHRIE included:

  • Jeff Beck was awarded ICHRIE’s prestigious Stevenson W. Fletcher Achievement Award which “recognizes an individual educator or trainer for outstanding achievement in contributing innovative ideas, methods, or programs that have advanced teaching, learning, or practice in the field of hospitality and tourism education.” The award recipient also must “demonstrate exceptional professional ability and/or commitment through service to ICHRIE and/or to the hospitality industry and education.” Dr. Beck serves as the chair of ICHRIE’s Scientific Paper Review Committee.
  • A.J. Singh and Dr. Mark Johnson (Department of Finance at MSU) earned Best Paper Presentation honors for their work with Yifan Zhou, with KMPG China, on “Internet Gaming Regulation: Valuation Concerns for the Industry.”
  • MiRan Kim (MS ’05) and Ray Schmidgall gave a stand up presentation on “Financial Executives’ Perception of Key Managerial Accounting Skills to Lodging and Club Managers.”
  • MiRan Kim also gave a poster presentation on “The Effects of Leader-member Exchange and Team-member Exchange on Employee Role Clarity and Job Satisfaction. Co-researchers were Laee Choi, from the University of Arizona, and Drs. Bonnie Knutson and Carl Borchgrevink, from The School.
  • Lu Zhang gave a stand up presentation with co-author Wan Yang from CalPoly on “CSR: The Effect of NFS and Fluency on Consumers’ Attitude.”
  • Carl Borchgrevink was part of two poster sessions. He was primary author and presenter of “Predicting Novice Consumer Wine Preference Based on Recent Food & Beverage Consumption Patterns and Consumer Food & Beverage Preferences: A Test of the Vinotype Premise, with Chef Allan Sherwin (BA ’64) from The School. And he was co-author for Dr. MiRan Kim’s presentation on” The Effects of Leader-member Exchange and Team-member Exchange on Employee Role Clarity and Job Satisfaction,” listed above.
  • JaeMin Cha (MS ’98) and SeungHyun (James) Kim gave a poster presentation on “Customers’ Perceptions in Value and Food Safety on Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty in Restaurant Environments: Moderating Roles of Gender and Restaurant Types.” Their co-author was Dr. Jeff Elsworth, from The School.
  • SeungHyun (James) Kim was co-researcher with Jung-Ho Suh and Dan McCole on a session on the “Effects of Social Media versus Traditional Media in Destination Branding.”

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