UH Moment: "Hall of Honor"

At the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, students are learning the industry, and planning one of the college's signature events: The Hospitality Hall of Honor, which celebrates industry pioneers.

"I love working with venues and hotels," said student Lee Kemmerling. "Right now, I'm a banquet supervisor, so I hope to become a banquet manager with a larger hotel in more of a resort location."

Since its establishment in 1965, the Hospitality Hall of Honor has recognized 60 industry greats, from Walt Disney to Howard Johnson to Colonel Harland Sanders.  Their portraits hang in a special chapel-like venue in the college.  

Alexis Hoey, Faculty Advisor at the UH Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant ManagementThe faculty adviser, Alexis Hoey, says the events surrounding the induction ceremony are completely student-run, with teams of students becoming the hotel's executive staff.

"We have a food and beverage manager and food and beverage coordinators," she said.  "We have general managers, an events department, and an entire education department that takes care of the think-tanks sessions."

The think-tanks are part of the two-day Hall of Honor event, where industry leaders discuss and debate hot topics.  There are 20 such sessions that give students an opportunity to interact with professionals in the business.  

The event also includes a VIP reception, a dinner and, of course, the induction ceremony.  Kemmerling and her group will be busy planning the menu and scheduling the student volunteers.  

"The day of for the induction ceremony is our time, what we're here for," she said. "We have to make sure that the dinner's going to go off without a hitch and that everything is perfect, ready to go and there's no issues."   

Students aim to mirror the success of the industry icons they're honoring. Kemmerling notes on the night of the event, success will have a different look.

"Empty plates and empty glasses!" she said.  "I want them to be excited, smiling, having a good time, loving the food—and of course the service."

The Hospitality Hall of Honor is part of what's happening at the University of Houston.