The Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the Pamplin College of Business has established the Feiertag Hospitality Academy-to-Industry Research Collection in University Libraries’ VTechWorks.

“The collection focuses on converting academic research in the area of hospitality sales to quick, easy-to-read summaries for busy industry professionals,” said Department Head Nancy Gard McGehee.

The collection is named for Howard Feiertag, a longtime instructor in the department, which is ranked No. 2 in the nation and No. 6 worldwide.

Fulfilling a need

“There is high demand for this kind of information, but no one has ever put it together in this way,” McGehee said. “Once again, Howard got tired of talking about it and took matters into his own hands, underwriting the assistantship that supports the student who populates the collection.”

McGehee said Farida Mohamed, a student in the department’s master’s program, located on the Falls Church campus, has worked hard over the past six months to build the collection.

Gail McMillan and Ellen Krupar, of University Libraries, were instrumental in helping to create the collection, McGehee said.

“We met with Howard to learn more about his desire to establish an open source of research and information on hotel management for industry leaders and practitioners as well as academic faculty and students,” McMillan said.

Connecting industry and academia

“The collection already reflects Howard’s goal to bridge the gap between industry and academia, with nearly 150 articles, an audio file, and blog posts,” McMillan said. “It will eventually provide videos, advertisements, curricula, and more in a variety of accessible formats.” University Libraries will maintain the collection and keep it publicly accessible, she said.

The collection was announced at a gala in metro Washington, D.C., celebrating Feiertag’s lifetime contributions to hospitality education and practice.

At the gala, attended by more than 200 alumni, faculty members, administrators, and industry executives, Feiertag received an honorary lifetime membership in the Virginia Tech Alumni Association from Charlie Phlegar, vice president for advancement.

An honorary Hokie

Matt Winston, senior associate vice president for alumni relations, said the association wanted to make Feiertag an “honorary Hokie in recognition for all that he has done for and meant to our institution.”

Feiertag has made a lasting impact on the hotel and tourism industry worldwide, Winston said.

“For the past 30 years, he has touched the lives of hundreds of Virginia Tech students — now alumni — who were taught and mentored by him and who have left the university to practice their craft. He has represented the university’s motto, Ut Prosim, famously and has served as an ambassador for the entire Hokie Nation.”

The evening culminated with a video created by Pamplin’s student-run ad agency PRISM that included well-wishes from Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta and Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson.

To make a contribution to the Feiertag Excellence Fund, which supports various initiatives of Virginia Tech’s hospitality and tourism management program, simply call the Virginia Tech Foundation at 540-231-2828. Mention that you would like your contribution to go to fund #877112 (Howard Feiertag Gala).

– By Sookhan Ho