Jordan Howell (BA ’10) may not want 2010 to end. It has been quite a year for the senior in The School of Hospitality Business. And he’s ending on a high note: he will be the featured student speaker at the 10 a.m. Commencement Ceremony on December 11 for graduates in the Eli Broad College of Business, as well as in the Residential College of Arts and Humanities and the Colleges of Arts and Letters, Education, James Madison, Music, and Social Science. This is something of a “hat trick” forThe School, since Jordan is the third School student in a row to be chosen as the Commencement speaker. Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. will address the gathering and receive an honorary doctorate in Business.
Jordan has also recently accepted a position with The Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where he will begin his “official” career in the hospitality industry.
Well, actually, his career started when he arrived on campus three and a half years ago.
Jordan came to MSU and needed a job. One was available at a local hotel, and he loved it so much he changed his major to Hospitality Business. He has continued to work at the Lexington Lansing Hotel, and has impressed the executives there so much that they nominated him as the 2010 Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association Student Employee of the Year. He won the honor at the ML&TA Stars of the Industry dinner and ceremony in May 2010 at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
So Jordan fit right in at work, and also in The School. “The School has become so much more than a place where I took classes. It is the place where I planned my future, set my goals, and surpassed them.”
From Ludington, MI, Jordan joined the student Professional Convention Managers Association, as well as the Lodging & Gaming Management Association, for which he served in 2009 – 2010 as vice president of Financial Operations. Both organizations are two of the ten industry-associated clubs within The School. He used the clubs’ opportunities for professional development sessions, guest speakers, and workshops to “challenge myself as a student and as a young adult.”
He also volunteered and served as a director of Human Resources for The School’s premiere spring event, Les Gourmets, which he says taught him the value of a strong team, and proved to him that his classroom education would have a direct relationship to his success in the industry. Jordan received a Les Gourmets scholarship in March 2010, and was awarded the 2009-2010 Starwood Hotels and Resorts Endowed Scholarship.
As for The School’s curriculum, Jordan maintains that “my internships were what made me believe that what I am learning, doing, and dreaming are right for me. The practical knowledge and real life experiences brought what I was learning to life. I have had the opportunity to work in Lansing, Chicago, Hawaii, and New York – all because I was a student in The School.”
And now he is off to New York, stepping into a management development program at The Waldorf, the city’s landmark hotel known for luxury, incomparable guest service, and high standards. He will help oversee the front office and more that 1,400 rooms as he rotates through the hotel’s different departments. He joins no fewer than eight other School graduates currently in management positions at the famed hotel.
In a December 1 article in The State News about students carrying full academic workloads while interviewing during their final semester, Jordan noted that he credits his new position, as well as the other offers he received, to the “prestige of MSU’s The School of Hospitality Business, and the mentors and jobs he has had along the way.” Jordan adds, “The quality that comes out of The School is kind of unbelievable.”
So in spite of the fact that he has had such a good time and so many growing experiences while at MSU, Jordan is looking forward to joining the other School alumni at The Waldorf Astoria.
But first he’ll don his green robes, walk into the Breslin Center, and on December 11 deliver the speech of his life! We wish Jordan well in that, and all of his future endeavors.