Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (FIU HTM), one of the leading programs of its kind in the world offering those studying hotel, foodservice and travel-related industries an unmatched experiential learning environment, welcomed seasoned hospitality veteran Leland Pillsbury on Friday, Nov. 19. Pillsbury, currently Chief Executive Officer of Thayer Lodging Group, continued the successful tradition of the school’s Professor Michael E. Hurst Distinguished Hospitality Leaders Lecture Series. The two-hour event was held on FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus.
FIU’s Distinguished Hospitality Leaders Lecture Series is just one of the ways the school prepares students for leadership positions in the hotel, foodservice and travel-related industries, while continuously elevating the hospitality profession and providing students with unique access to top industry professionals. More than 300 faculty, staff and students filled the school’s auditorium for this particular lecture, gathering to hear Pillsbury’s thoughts on life as a serial entrepreneur. Pillsbury discussed character traits such as passion, mood and courage that have helped him excel in the hospitality field, asking students and faculty to hold up a green or red card based on whether they agreed or disagreed with his statements. Pillsbury’s motivational lecture inspired HTM students to consider themselves as future entrepreneurs in hospitality.
“Mr. Pillsbury was extremely inspiring and passionate about hospitality. I had never thought I could form my own passion, but once he mentioned it, I realized that I’m inspired to learn every day at FIU,” said Jennifer Allen, a Master’s program FIU HTM student.
Following Pillsbury’s lecture, FIU held a unique raffle, which provided four students with scholarships up to $1,000. Winners included Fang Shu of China, first semester Master’s HTM student, $1,000; Vanessa Amaran of Miami, junior Bachelor’s HTM student, $500; Xzn Zheng of China, senior HTM student, $250; Liang Zhang, China, fourth semester Master’s HTM student, $250.
Located in Miami - one of the world’s most recognized tourism-driven economic regions, providing students a unique living laboratory of unmatched experiential learning opportunities - Florida International University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management maintains a dynamic curriculum designed to meet the changing needs and demands of the industry. This includes campuses with state-of-the-art facilities, an exceptionally high graduate placement record, and one of the most extensive international reaches of any leading hospitality school with its 1,000-student Tianjin, China campus.
About Leland Pillsbury
Leland Pillsbury, a venture capitalist with a special focus on the hospitality industry, is the co-founder, co-chairman and CEO of Thayer Lodging Group, which recently co-acquired Interstate Hotels and Resorts (IHR) with Jin Jiang Hotels the largest hotel group in China. IHR is the largest independent operator of hotels in the world. Pillsbury is also the co-founder and chairman of TIG Global, an Internet marketing company serving over 1,500 hotels around the world; EMC Venues, the country’s largest resort and conference center marketing representation firm; Thayer Insurance Group, provider of specialized insurance coverage to hotel and hospitality firms; co-founder of HUBS1, provider of the only global distribution system and central reservations system to the domestic Chinese hotel and airline industries; co-founder of HQuant, a financial and analytical firm serving the hospitality industry and publisher of HQuant Lodging Real Estate Index.
About Florida International University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Florida International University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is one of the highest rated hospitality and tourism programs in the United States. Each year, over 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States and around the world choose FIU for its outstanding reputation, advantageous campus locations, expert faculty, rich curriculum, and fast-track career advantages in the international hotel, foodservice and tourism industries. In August 2006 FIU unveiled the first US School of Hospitality and Tourism in Tianjin, China. The Marriott Tianjin China Program is FIU’s largest international program, with a capacity for up to 2,000 students. For more information about Florida International University’s School ofHospitality and Tourism Management, visit http://hospitality.fiu.edu/.
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