Vallen Dinner of Distinction


May. 20, 2022, 6pm to 9:30pm

Office/Remote Location

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas (Main Ballroom)
3960 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89119


The new year (2022) marks the triumphant return of the UNLV Harrah College of Hospitality's Vallen Dinner of Distinction, honoring alumni and industry executives who have made significant contributions to the hospitality industry and hospitality education.

This year the college is recognizing a group of superstars whose commitment to excellence in hospitality earned them awards in 2019, 2020, and 2021. In addition, we will join together to pay special tribute to the college’s founding dean and event namesake, Jerry Vallen, who we lost in July 2020.

Here are the honorees for the upcoming Vallen Dinner of Distinction:


UNLV Hospitality College Alumna of the Year
Colleen Birch '99
SVP, Revenue Optimization at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Hospitality Industry Leader of the Year
Bill Hornbuckle '84
CEO and President of MGM Resorts International


UNLV Hospitality College Alumnus of the Year
Michael Kawazoe '01
Executive Director & Vice President of Lucky Holdings Inc.

UNLV Silver State Award (campus-wide award)
Larry Ruvo
Senior Managing Director, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Nevada


UNLV Hospitality College Alumna of the Year
Rikki Tanenbaum '06 MHA
Chief Operating Officer, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

UNLV Outstanding Faculty of the Year (campus-wide award)
Bobbie Barnes ’93 BS, ’05 M.Ed., ’13 Ph.D.
Associate Professor in Residence, UNLV Harrah College of Hospitality

UNLV Outstanding Alumnus of the Year (campus-wide award)
Guy Fieri '90
Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur


(Proceeds support scholarships for Hospitality College students)

Admission Information

The event is open to all. 

  • 6 p.m.: Cocktail Reception
  • 7 p.m.: Dinner & Program

Contact Information

Maggie Hausbeck

External Sponsor

UNLV Harrah College of Hospitality