Remembering Dr. Lea Dopson, ICHRIE President

Friends of ICHRIE,

It is with overwhelming sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of our ICHRIE President, friend, colleague, and leader, Dr. Lea R. Dopson. Lea passed away in her home this week and leaves an undeniable void in hospitality management education and in our ICHRIE family. Her legacy has been carved throughout the years in a profession that she has served, enhanced, loved, and led.

Dr. Dopson was the Dean and James A. Collins Distinguished Chair of The Collins College of Hospitality Management at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). She earned a B.S. in Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Texas Tech University, and she earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis in Curriculum Development from the University of Houston. Previously, she was Chair of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at the University of North Texas, and she taught at Cal Poly Pomona, the University of Houston, and Texas Tech University. In addition to her academic career, she has held food and beverage management and corporate positions with Sheraton Hotels and Harvey Hotels. Her areas of teaching have included hospitality finance, hospitality managerial accounting, and hospitality cost controls.

As an academic administrator, Dr. Dopson wrote strategic plans and assessments, managed budgets, oversaw capital projects, developed curricula, worked with advisory boards, raised external funds, cultivated alumni, developed, and maintained industry partnerships, and lead faculty, staff, and students toward a shared vision. 

Dr. Dopson’s passion for hospitality management education was evident in her continued commitment to the discipline through her research in competency and curriculum development, sustainable tourism in developing countries, and her textbooks, Food and Beverage Cost Control, and Managerial Accounting for the Hospitality Industry. She also had an ardent interest in international education, as demonstrated by her creation of a MS in International Sustainable Tourism joint degree between the University of North Texas and Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Costa Rica. In addition, Dr. Dopson lived 9 months in Zimbabwe, Africa developing a degree program in international hospitality and tourism.

Dr. Dopson was also very active in professional organizations. Most recently, Lea served as the President for the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE), 2021-2022, and served as Vice President in 2020-2021. She previously served two terms as Treasurer for ICHRIE, and she was Founding President of West CHRIE. She served four years as Commissioner of the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA), and she is a Site Team Visitor for ACPHA. She has held memberships in several hospitality industry professional associations, and she has served on a number of academic boards. Her travels and work have taken her to six out of seven continents, including Antarctica.

We will miss Lea very much,

ICHRIE Board of Directors

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