Ashland University Restructures Hospitality Management Program

Ashland University’s hospitality management department, the oldest university hospitality management program in the state of Ohio, has a fresh look these days. 

With a revamped curriculum written by Dr. Richard Roberson, assistant professor in the department, the program now encompasses everything from the travel and hotel industry to conferences and private events for charities, companies and families.

“A bachelor’s degree in hospitality management can open the doors to a great variety of different careers, including caterer, convention service director, food services supplier, golf/country club manager, human resource administrator, merchandising accountant, personnel interviewer and even a wedding planner,” Roberson said.

The hospitality program at Ashland University is designed to offer students a wide variety of options both inside and outside of the classroom.

“Students utilize the knowledge of food preparation, human resources, management and customer relations along with gaining real-world experience through internships in this program,” Roberson said.

“The program focuses on the individual and encourages students to structure their class schedules to reflect what they would like to do post-graduation.”

Roberson said students are given the option to choose a number of classes to match their interests in areas such as cost control, hotel operations, beverage management, environmental management, marketing, and other classes to make their experience at Ashland University focused on their passion.

“Under this program, students are encouraged to get involved in organizations such as the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) and Enactus. NSMH is a non-profit organization preparing students for leading roles in the hospitality industry, while Enactus inspires students to take future leading roles in business by taking action at this time.

Last year, Ashland University’s NSMH chapter won two awards – the Midwest Region Award for highest membership and the Chapter of the Year Award. Representatives of this organization were able to travel to Orlando, Fla., to attend the 24th Annual NSMH Conference and Career Fair to receive their awards. In addition, the Ashland University Chapter of Enactus placed as the runner-up at the regional competition in Chicago, Ill., last year.

Roberson said students who study hospitality management at Ashland University receive a vast understanding of the industry as well as the necessary professional preparation for it.

Gina Tornabene, who graduated on May 10 as a hospitality management major from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, said her favorite part of the hospitality program was the multitude of courses that were offered.

“I graduated with such diverse certificates, from Hospitality Human Resources Management to ServSafe Food Production training. They also offer Casino Management and Beverage Management classes, while accompanying them with more serious Hospitality Marketing,” she said. “There’s something for any industry you’re looking into and they are more streamlined to make sure that it’s relevant to what we’re going to be doing when we graduate.”

Ashland graduates with the Hospitality Management degree have gone on to work with Better Homes & Gardens, Hyatt Corporation, Walt Disney World, Resort Recreation and Tourism Management, Family First Fitness Center, Travel Lodge and The Four Seasons.

Roberson said he has the same advice for all hospitality management majors.

“The quality of your job when you graduate is the best indicator on how you spent your internships, and your internships are your opportunity to make sure the industry is for you,” he said. “Take the time when you are in college to make sure it is a field you love.”

For more information about the hospitality management program at Ashland University, visit or contact Dr. Daniel Fox, chair of the Department of Marketing/Hospitality Management/Fashion Merchandising, at or 419.207.6331.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###

Front Page Banner Image: 
Ashland University Restructures Hospitality Management Program