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New Feiertag Collection makes hospitality research easily accessible to industry professionals, academic faculty, students

November 27, 2017

Charlie Phlegar, vice president for advancement, claps while Howard Feiertag holds the certificate  of his honorary lifetime membership in the Virginia Tech Alumni Association .
Howard Feiertag receives an honorary lifetime membership in the Virginia Tech Alumni Association from Charlie Phlegar, vice president for advancement, at a recent gala celebrating Feiertag’s lifetime contributions to hospitality education and practice. All photos by Holly Cromer.

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.

“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.

“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 recent 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.

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).

Howard Feiertag and DoYoung Kim enjoy a dance.
The guest of honor dances with DoYoung Kim, a master’s student in hospitality and tourism management.
Howard Feiertag poses with eight other guests, who include graduate students, professor Mahmoud Khan, and department head Nancy McGehee.
From left: Hefny Mohamed, a visiting scholar; hospitality and tourism management professor Mahmood Khan; alumnus Shawn Lee; Howard Feiertag; Nancy McGehee; and master’s students Farida Mohamed, Mohammed Zaheer Ghulam Moinuddin, and DoYoung Kim. In front: Amanda Baden, also a master’s student.
Howard Feiertag poses with six other guests, including hospitality executives.
Feiertag, McGehee, and Pamplin College of Business dean Robert Sumichrast (far right) pose with hospitality executives (from left) Bob Gilbert (president, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International), Roger Dow (CEO, U.S. Travel Association), Joe McInerney (former CEO, American Hotel & Lodging Association), and Burch Sweeney (president, Golf Events & Meetings).
Displayed on a table are some of the items up for bid at the gala’s silent auction.
Some of the items up for bid at the gala’s silent auction.
Howard Feiertag spoke at the end of the evening's program.
“You could have heard a pin drop,” said hospitality and tourism management department head Nancy McGehee, referring to the moving speech that Feiertag gave at the end of the evening’s program.
Howard Feiertag poses with four family members.
Howard Feiertag and family: from left, Kenneth Feiertag, Amy Cook, Tracey Feiertag, and Stephen Feiertag.

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