Dear friends,

Having the opportunity to become the director of the School of Hospitality Business Management is an honor. The school has been one of the top programs and continues to push the envelope in quality research insights and the student experience. The current environment of the pandemic raises greater uncertainty about the short-term future of both the hospitality industry and higher education. With this uncertainty, numerous changes will take place—though I expect they will ultimately improve best practices in both areas. Thus, I am eager to enhance the SHBM’s reputation and assist in expanding our programs that will strengthen our legacy of excellence. Because WSU and SHBM provided a way for me to complete my Ph.D., the ability to give back and contribute to something larger than myself is deeply exciting and meaningful to me.

Using the mission, vision, and goals of the Carson College of Business as a guide, my hope is to take our programs to new heights. I see our mission as being the “go to” institution for the study of hospitality business management through our unique relationships with the hospitality industry and the strength of our faculty and students.

Our key goals will focus on ensuring the quality of our undergraduate programs, growing our research reputation, and differentiating our programs to meet the needs of students and industry.

We will accomplish this in part through greater integration of unique experiential learning opportunities such as our Crimson Confections project, industry immersion programs, project-based internships, and more access to study abroad activities.

In this issue, you will read about our progress in these areas, specifically in our feature highlighting a new, weeklong student learning experience with Stonebridge Companies in Denver, made possible by alumnus Navin Dimond, Stonebridge’s CEO, president, and founder, and his wife Rita.

You’ll discover, if you haven’t already, there is something special in the DNA of the WSU student population—they are just great people! This lends itself to an underlying feeling of “hospitality,” which in part explains the success of our graduates. See for yourself in our feature on Terra Blanca Winery, one of the most prized destination wineries in the Pacific Northwest—staffed almost entirely by Cougs.

We will continue to promote the accomplishments of our alumni voted into the School of Hospitality Business Management Hall of Fame. Each issue of the newsletter will feature a Hall of Fame recipient. I’m happy to recognize our distinguished alumnus Chris Burdett in this issue.

In the research arena, we plan to address timely questions as well as provide a platform for top scholars and industry leaders in the hospitality, wine business, and senior living sectors to receive research insights and collaboration opportunities.

The newly named Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living is one vehicle that will provide such a platform. The institute focuses on three critical dimensions: sponsored research, workforce development, and undergraduate education. You can read more about the creation of and vision for the institute in “The Life and Legacy of Granger Cobb” feature.

As we continue to expand the quality and reputation of the School of Hospitality Business Management, we need to attract and retain the best and brightest students, faculty, and staff. There are many opportunities for involvement—both big and small. Our shared vision will be one where we are globally engaged, creating an amazing educational experience, developing outstanding business leaders and scholars, and producing impactful research.


Bob Harrington, director