With a Landmark Anniversary Comes Rebirth

No matter if it’s a birthday or an anniversary, 50 years is a huge milestone—and it’s certainly a big deal for the college! It’s easy to understand why given how far we’ve come in the past five decades. From our humble start as a tiny department in the business school to our current position as a global force in hospitality education, this college has flourished on a steady diet of determination and heart. You don’t have to look any further than our 50 Intriguing Alumni stories to grasp the effects of half a century worth of programmatic relevance and rigor.

But this landmark anniversary represents more than a chance to rejoice in past accomplishments. It demonstrates the incredible momentum we feel as we usher in the next 50 years. It is an opportunity to embrace an educational landscape that is undergoing a revolution and move forward shoulder-to- shoulder with our students, our alumni, and the industry we love.

Portrait of male with suit and tie on.

Dean Stowe Shoemaker

New Name

As we set our sights on the next 50 years, the college must lead the way in recognizing the ongoing evolution of the hospitality industry, which has moved beyond its hotel-centric origins into such new sectors as gaming, hotel development, entertainment, restaurants, spas, golf, etc. In September of 2017, the college responded by officially changing its name from the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration to the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. Of course, we will never abandon our “Hotel School” roots, but we believe the new name communicates a more inclusive approach to hospitality education and better reflects the nature of the workforce our students are entering.

New Home

We’re tremendously fortunate to be celebrating our 50 th anniversary at the same time we are opening our new academic building, Hospitality Hall, located in the heart of the UNLV campus. This building, which showcases the names of industry partners/donors throughout the structure, essentially reimagines how the modern learning environment should look and feel. Unlike traditional academic facilities, Hospitality Hall features amenities typically found in hotel-resorts, such as function space with sweeping views, a café, common areas, and a professional golf center. We are so happy that Hospitality Hall will serve as a home base for current students, alumni, and friends of the college for years to come.

New Era

While transforming our physical environment and updating our brand are important for the college’s progress, we also view our 50 th anniversary as the opportune time to assess our curriculum and scholarship. When I talk to alumni and hospitality experts, I emphasize that the college is not just training industry professionals, we are creating industry leaders. To deliver on this promise, our program must remain nimble and forward thinking, and continue to seek guidance from industry partners. As similar programs around the country are being absorbed into business schools, we will continue to double down on hospitality, refreshing our courses and elevating the substance of our material. By doing so, we will continue to provide our students with unparalleled opportunities in the world’s greatest hospitality laboratory: Las Vegas. This is our commitment.