WVU - Member Highlight

West Virginia University


Last week, Fran Brasseux, ICHRIE Executive Director, had the honor of visiting Dr. Ajay Aluri at West Virginia University's John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Hospitality and Tourism Management program in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. There are so many exciting things happing at WVU, and we wanted to share them with you...


  • In 2011, the program started as an area of emphasis with two faculty and five students out of the management department.
  • In 2014, hospitality and tourism became major.
  • In 2018, the WVU HIT Lab was launched and added to the program. The HIT Lab student team included students beyond the hospitality program and the Chambers business school.
  • In 2019, a minor was added to the program.
  • In 2019, an online program was introduced
  • In 2022, it now has 50 traditional majors, 30 minors, and additional online students in the hospitality program, including students with majors in general business, marketing, finance, accounting, etc. The program also regularly had a few industry experts’ adjunct professors, guest lecturers, and speakers.


Now with a stand-alone program, Reynold's Hall serves as a stand-alone space for education, research, innovation, inspiration, connection, and engagement. The building is centrally located between campuses and sits directly next to the Mon River waterfront, with convenient transportation for students in unmanned “Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)” trams across three campuses in Morgantown. The building is purposefully designed to allow students to hold meetings, focus on their real-life projects, and study sessions with peers, industry partners, and guests in various collaborative labs and experiential classrooms equipped with access to sophisticated technology to help the user experience and value of engagement, excitement, and fun. No wonder the building is filled with students from sunrise to sundown - not only hospitality students but business and STEM students. Walking around the building, we understand... you'd want to be there too!


The HIT Lab is a platform at WVU for both industry and academia to come together to solve the problems of the hospitality and tourism industry. The purpose of the HIT Lab will be to foster innovation and hospitality technology. It serves as a pathway for experiential education, innovation, entrepreneurship, technology integration, career opportunities, and building a culture of hospitality for tomorrow's talent. 


When talking with Dr. Aluri, he quickly points out that you don't need a NEW building to integrate new ideas and technology like those in the new Reynold's Hall! A vibrant emphasis on student engagement can be as significant as the technology accessible to them, and making small changes can bring new immersive experiences and opportunities.

WVU has intentionally created an immersive space for the faculty, students, and industry guests. Integrating student technology with building and engagement is vital in the educational process and experience. If you would like to learn more about what WVU is doing, how to integrate a space of engagement at your secondary school, college, or university, or take a tour, you are invited to contact Dr. Aluri at: [email protected]


As Fran and Darla talked with Dr. Aluri about the WVU hospitality program, his passion, gift of innovation, and implementation are contagious. And, with his philosophy of creating an immersive space of engagement and being the place where cool stuff happens [that doesn't happen in other fields of study], we're sure to see the hospitality program at WVU continue to grow and bring impressive talent into the industry.

In addition to hearing about the growth of the program and building, Dr. Aluri also shared that WVU has a 100% job placement, an active ideation hub, and a growing Eta Sigma Delta honor society that impact the value of the program... and that membership with ICHRIE continually plays a significant role in WVU's success.

To follow up with this Member Highlight, CLICK HERE (Passcode: Q=c!J94r) for an interview between Dr. Aluri and Darla Hancock, ICHRIE Communications and Networking Specialist. There are SO many exciting things happening at WVU; you must hear everything from Dr. Aluri yourself!


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