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The HEaT is on

By Nathan Solheim

June 8, 2017

The Hospitality Learning Center.

MSU Denver is serving up another school.

The MSU Denver Board of Trustees approved the creation of a new School of Hospitality, Events and Tourism at their meeting in early May — a move that dramatically increases the visibility and competitiveness of one of the nation’s most innovative hospitality programs.

“I think we really have the opportunity to create the kind of school that will prepare the next generation of hospitality entrepreneurs,” said MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan. “We are setting ourselves up to train people who want to be in the business of starting, running and managing companies. This is our chance to be a major regional presence.”

The school will officially open its doors for fall semester in 2018 and a nationwide search for a dean—MSU Denver’s fifth — is underway.

Trustees cited rapid growth in the hospitality program as a reason for elevating the University’s current Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events (HTE) to a school. Enrollment has doubled since the University entered into a public-private partnership with Sage Hospitality to open the Hospitality Learning Center in 2012. The Center, which pairs academic facilities with the SpringHill Suites Denver Downtown hotel, is one of 11 such facilities in the nation.

“Becoming a school automatically enhances the visibility of the entire program and also provides the University with another example of successful partnership between academia and industry,” said Carol Krugman, who chairs the current department and has worked on the transition over the past three years. “Our school is one of very few that provide the breadth of education and professional preparation in all the interrelated components of the greater hospitality industry.”

The school will offer bachelor’s degrees, minors and certificates in event and meeting management, hotel management, travel and tourism management and restaurant management as well as the urban agriculture and beverage management minors. The school also will house MSU Denver’s burgeoning brewing program, which offers bachelor’s degrees, minors and certificates in brewery operations and craft beer and pub operations.

Krugman added that the school will continue to provide great benefits to hospitality students planning to enter one of Colorado’s largest and most important industries.

“It offers students an enriched curriculum in their specialty field and the opportunity for more relevant courses to prepare for the workplace,” Krugman said. “That makes them more competitive and much more visible to potential employers.”

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