Honoring Byron Marlowe, Don Smith Distinguished Professor of Hospitality Business Management
By Sue McMurray
Byron Marlowe’s warm personality, infectious smile, and passion for his career as an associate professor of hospitality touched everyone who knew him. His unexpected passing December 28, 2021, left the Carson College and his many students and colleagues with overwhelming sadness but at the same time, a cache of wonderful memories that will sustain the legacy of his exemplary career.
Marlowe joined the Carson College hospitality faculty at WSU Tri-Cities in 2015 and became the director of the wine and beverage business management program that is growing in popularity and prestige because of his expertise and vision.
In March 2020, he was awarded the Don Smith Distinguished Professorship assigned to scholars especially devoted to teaching. He also held appointments as an international business fellow and as a faculty member of both the Graduate School and Honors College at WSU Pullman. Additionally, he held several international visiting lecturer/professor positions at the Hochschule Harz – University of Applied Sciences, Germany; Institut Paul Bocuse, France and China; Castello Sonnino Field Study, Italy; César Ritz Colleges, Switzerland; and IMC University of Applied Sciences, Austria.
Changing Students’ Lives
Marlowe impacted his students in profound ways. Wine and beverage management student Jack Costa, who grew up in Roseburg, Oregon, says meeting Marlowe changed his life.
“After we met, Byron scheduled a call with me to talk about WSU’s wine business program. He convinced me to apply to WSU and pursue a career focused on the wine industry,” he says. “I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t met him; a lot of my peers in Roseburg didn’t consider going to college.”
Costa is also gaining valuable career experience working at Col Solare Winery, an opportunity that stemmed from Marlowe’s professional connections.
“Byron helped me think critically, engage in countless learning opportunities, and see my greatest strengths,” says Costa. “He also became a friend—it was the best of both worlds.”
A respected scholar and industry leader
Marlowe was well known for his knowledge of the wine and beer industries. Just recently, he earned a Fulbright scholar award, which took him to Austria to extend and deepen his work. His award-winning book Wine Sales and Distribution: The Secrets of Building a Consultative Sales Approach is highly regarded by the industry. He was known for his research impact and in 2020 led WSU hospitality clinical professors in research productivity with 10 refereed journal articles since 2016 (including three in one of the top hospitality publications) and five book chapters.
“He was always studying and investigating new and innovative ways to improve the customer experience, help local businesses succeed, and raise the caliber of beverages developed and sold both in the Pacific Northwest and internationally,” says Sandra Haynes, WSU Tri-Cities chancellor. “He was also passionate about teaching and guiding the next generation of professionals entering one of the fastest growing industries in the region.”
Marlowe also led the wine business management professional certificate program, was responsible for the international business management course in the Carson College’s online MBA program, and led educational offerings for WSU Tri-Cities’ newly established partnership with the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, Washington.
An engaged community member, husband, and father
In addition to his academic roles, Marlowe was engaged with the Tri-Cities community, including supporting the Downtown Pasco Development Authority’s Ponte la Mascara Pasco, or Put on the Mask Pasco, to hand out masks to community members amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Byron exemplified the mission of WSU, of our college, and of the School of Hospitality Business Management, especially through his deep engagement with the Tri-Cities community,” says Chip Hunter, Carson College dean. “Above all, he was our friend, a wonderful mentor to many students, and esteemed colleague to many in and beyond the Carson College. He will be greatly missed, but he will never be forgotten.”
Marlowe was a proud husband and father to three children, as well as a tremendous professor, endearing friend, and exceptional colleague. WSU Tri-Cities plans to establish an endowed scholarship in Marlowe’s honor. In the meantime, if anyone would like to send a note to his family, please reach out to Brenda Alling, interim director of marketing and communication, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and she will coordinate.