This year’s 31 new members of Eta Sigma Delta (ESD), the international hospitality management society, were inducted in the School of Hospitality Business at MSU on Thursday, April 17, 2014.

The ceremony honored not only the new inductees, but also the outgoing Hospitality Association (HA) Executive Board members who provided outstanding leadership and initiative throughout the 2013-2014 academic year.  The 2014-2105 HA Executive Board members were welcomed, as well.

The evening began with Eta Sigma Delta Chapter President Ariel Lessens (BA Hospitality Business ’14) welcoming the guests, and a chapter overview by Dr. JaeMin Cha (MS Hospitality Business ’98), chapter advisor.  And it’s not just about academic success.  She noted, “I am very proud of our chapter’s Executive Board and members.  This year, in the most recent ESD service event history, we had the highest number of service events throughout the year.  On April 10, 2014, our chapter earned the Philanthropy Award for the second year in a row from the School’s Hospitality Association (HA) at its annual Spring Gala.”  The chapter organized and led four fundraising and charitable activities, and participated in two additional philanthropic events organized by the Hospitality Association.

The ceremony continued with members highlighting each of the Eta Sigma Delta points of honor: Excellence, by Nevena Divic (BA Hospitality Business ’14); Leadership, by Jessica Garlach (BA Hospitality Business ’14); Creativity, by Anne-Marie Khoury (BA Hospitality Business ’14); Service, by Jordyn Malkin (BA Hospitality Business ’14); and Ethics, by Kyung-Min Cho (BA Hospitality Business ’14).

Congratulatory remarks came from Dr. Ron Cichy, School director and professor, and from Dean James Rainey, the director of Academic Programs. “The ideals of Eta Sigma Delta are timeless, expansive, and challenging,” said Dr. Cichy.  Dean Rainey noted, “The School was founded in 1927 as Hotel Training Course.  Now, the School sets the standards for other hospitality schools. This evening is truly a celebration of scholarship.”

Each year’s ceremony features the induction of new members, based upon completion of at least 50% of the credit hours required for graduation; enrollment in the School; and academic ranking above the top 20th percentile in class standing.  In the School, it also features the induction of an honorary member, who this year was Alumnus Chuck Day (BA Hospitality Business ’91), lead portfolio manager with InterContinental Hotels. Chuck has been an Alumni Advisor to the HA/Alumni Association Destination Auction for many years, as well as a member of the Alumni Association’s Executive Board of Directors.

“I am honored to be part of such a select group of individuals dedicated to this industry,” Chuck said in his remarks at the ceremony.  He also spoke to each of Eta Sigma Delta’s points of honor:

Excellence

Be excited and do your personal best, work for the best companies, learn from the best managers, establish the best mentor, and connect with the best networks.

Leadership

Seek out opportunities that are uncommon and do not follow the beaten path.  Be adventurous and don’t play it safe.

Service

This is the basis of everything we do. This is what you have spent a lot of time recently learning how to be good at managing. You are going to graduate with a degree in Hospitality Business. Hospitality and service seem to be synonymous in our culture today. But do you know how very important it is what we do?

Webster’s defines hospitality as: “Generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests and the activity of providing food, drinks, etc. for people who are the guests or customers of an organization”

The word itself, though, has much deeper meaning and has historical roots in Latin and Greek and has always been revered with utmost and even sacred importance.

In Middle Eastern Culture it was considered a cultural norm to take care of strangers and foreigners living among you and these norms can even be found throughout the Bible!  The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy all have verses which speak to providing for the care of strangers.

What better vocation is there than Hospitality?

Ethics

Take pride in doing the right thing.

Creativity

Have an attitude of “Anything is possible.”

Chuck said afterward, “The ESD Induction Ceremony was very impressive.  It was inspiring to be surrounded by so many high academic achievers.  This event demonstrated just one more way that the School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University is producing the best future leaders for our industry.”

In addition to Ariel Lessens, the leadership of the 2013-2014 Eta Sigma Delta chapter included Vice President of Finance Jiyeun Kim (BA Hospitality Business ’14), Vice President of Marketing and Communications Taylor Pahl (BA Hospitality Business ’15), and Vice President of Philanthropy Stefanie Comins (BA Hospitality Business ’15).  Ariel says, “Serving as president of Eta Sigma Delta has given me the opportunity to give back to the community that has given me so much over my four years at Michigan State University. It also gives me great pleasure in being able to celebrate other student’s academic achievement and show that grades do matter.”

The evening concluded with a lovely reception in the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Culinary Business Learning Lab, hosted by the students in HB 485 – Hospitality Food Service Operations, and Culinary Business Professor Chef Allan Sherwin (BA Hospitality Business ’64).