Passing The Torch
I start off my column this month, my last as President, with a SALUTE to Kathy McCarty, CEO of ICHRIE, who has chosen to retire effective December 31, 2020.
All members, past and present, owe a debt of gratitude to Kathy. As the CEO of our association for the past twenty years, Kathy’s dedication and commitment to ICHRIE has been evident in her lead of the association. Many of you will remember that Kathy led our organization back to financial stability during her first years of leadership. Over the course of her leadership, Kathy has collaborated with the hospitality industry and higher education professionals; she has engaged ICHRIE in many partnerships, sponsorships, and alliances for the betterment of the association. Kathy furthered our international efforts with the brilliant addition of the Asia Pacific region in 2003. In the 2007-2008 academic year, she also guided the structural change effort in moving our organization from geographic chapters to larger federations around the globe. Today, twelve years later, six successful federations join together to form our ICHRIE organization.
We will truly miss Kathy’s organizational knowledge, insights, and dedication to ICHRIE. We are grateful for all she has accomplished with and for ICHRIE; her dedication to our organization and to our membership is strong and deeply rooted. On behalf of all the Presidents and Board of Directors who have worked with Kathy, I sincerely thank her for the steady guidance of the organization she provided over the past 20 years. This month in the Communique, Nick Thomas, Director of Education, has submitted a compendium of articles from authors focused on the topic of hospitality education.
In terms of higher education, especially hospitality education, the bad news is that we face challenges with declining enrollments, financial difficulties of our institutions, decreasing funding by states / dwindling endowments for private institutions, and declining international student enrollments. The good news is that we, as an association of hospitality educators, are helping to support our members through various webinars, resources, and partnerships. While COVID 19 has been a test to our abilities, the stay at home order has helped us as an association connect in ways never considered. The creativity, dedication, and commitment of our members has been fantastic.
While we are not having a conference in Phoenix at the end of the month, there are a variety of virtual activities planned for the week of conference, starting with ZOOM Around the World, the brain child of Ralf Burbach, Director of Networking, along with Damian Duchamp and Ajay Aluri. A schedule with all the activities and guest speakers scheduled will be sent to all members very soon. I think you will find these virtual events fun and educational. Thank you to the ICHRIE Executive Committee and Board of Directors for their efforts this year; we certainly have had more challenges than many past executive committees and BODs. My special thanks to ICHRIE staff members Amie Grayson and Kevin Anderson for holding the office together during the very difficult and uncertain times we have experienced. Most importantly, thank you to each of you for your membership in ICHRIE. Please take care of yourself and your family.
I hope that these articles provide a basis for discussion on teaching and learning, a key component of the mission and vision of ICHRIE.