From the bustling field of restaurant management to the scholarly halls of the Ivy League, Tim Durnford has always known he’d work in the hospitality industry. Now, as the UNLV Hospitality College new associate dean of finance and administration, he’s ready for his next adventure.
I spent the last 27 years in upstate New York working at Cornell University. For the past two years I was the associate dean for infrastructure and technology for the newly created SC Johnson College of Business, but prior I was the associate dean for business affairs at the School of Hotel Administration managing IT, human resources, finances, and facilities – I’ve worn many hats.
UNLV’s commitment to hospitality education is what initially drew me here. I was excited by the construction of Hospitality Hall, the renaming of the Hospitality College, and the current changes to the college’s curriculum. It’s exciting to be part of the Hospitality College.
Additionally, our children have both recently moved out west. My son works and lives in San Diego, and my daughter is attending medical school at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. My wife and I are excited to be so much closer to both of them.
Something surprising about Las Vegas
I was pleased to see UNLV’s drive to becoming a Top Tier research institution and how much diversity we have here. I’ve also been impressed by the sense of pride Las Vegans have for their community. Las Vegas really seems like a close-knit community. Particularly on the heels of the Oct. 1 tragedy and the Golden Knights success, the town has really appeared to have come together.
Why the hospitality industry?
My father was a food service salesman, so I’ve been around the industry almost my whole life. In high school, I participated in a management training program through DECA (formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America), which later led me to get my bachelor’s degree in food science and nutrition from Colorado State University and my master’s in hotel administration from Cornell. I am passionate about hospitality education and how it can change the lives of students.
“There is no limit to what you can accomplish as long as you do not care who gets the credit.”
I pride myself on working in a team environment and making sure everyone gets credit for the work they do. It’s not a one-man show. Everything happens because you have a team of great people making great things happen.
Something people would be surprised to learn about you
I’m an originally from Denver, Colorado, and am Eagle Scout. I was involved in scouting all my young adult life, and it really proved to be a great foundation of leadership skills.
Winters in New York vs. summers in Las Vegas
Ask me next year! I’m sure both have their pros and cons. I’m very tired of cold, gray winters of New York. We’ll see how I adjust to the dry, hot summers in the valley.
Ideal summer vacation
My wife and I love adventure vacations. Last year, we hiked 120 miles through Portugal and Spain on the Camino de Santiago. The year before that, we did an eco-tourism trip through Costa Rica that was phenomenal. We are looking forward to exploring the many national parks and recreational areas in Southern Nevada and Utah.
Super Bowl 2019
I am actually a huge Denver Broncos fan, so I am always rooting for the AFC West and would have much preferred that Kansas City would have represented the AFC in this year's game. Ultimately, I am going to have a hard time rooting for the Raiders.
This year, I am predicting that the Los Angeles Rams will win despite the fact that the current over-under is at 58. I am taking this position for three reasons. First, I usually root for the underdogs. Second, I have to cheer for the western state's team. Third, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
A time you were daring
When my wife and I were engaged, we decided to do a three-month program in Rome two weeks before it started. We packed up all our belongings in San Diego and flew from LAX to Europe without having any idea what we were in store for. We spent the fall in Rome and we were getting married in March, so my in-laws had to plan our wedding. This was before cell phones and email, so they would mail us letters across the Atlantic asking which flowers or cake flavors we wanted. We had the best experience of our lives, and we came home to a great wedding, too!