Dedman School of Hospitality becomes FSU’s newest college

2020 News - Dedman Collage of Hospitality News

The Florida State University Board of Trustees unanimously approved Friday the renaming of the Dedman School of Hospitality to become FSU’s 18th college.

In addition to increasing its prominence and stature, the BOT’s decision positions the Dedman College of Hospitality for growth in a number of ways, said Don Farr, Dedman Professor of Hospitality Management and dean of the new college.

“I think it gives us a little more independence and a bit more control of our destination as far as our vision is concerned,” he said. “We are re-doing our five-year plan because –through hard work – we’ve been fortunate to achieve many goals ahead of schedule. But there are things, such as a new Ph.D. program, that hopefully we’ll add in the future.”

Don Farr, dean of the Dedman College of Hospitality
Don Farr, dean of the Dedman College of Hospitality

Farr credited Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, for helping to shepherd Dedman from being part of the College of Business to becoming its own school and now a college.

McRorie said the change acknowledges the success and commitment of Dedman’s faculty and students.

“The Dedman College of Hospitality has a long history and great recent expansion of working with hospitality industry leaders and preparing our graduates for outstanding careers,” McRorie said. “This latest milestone brings the college into the same highly competitive market as its peers, both those we already outperform and those that remain aspirational. This recognition will give the college a clear advantage as it looks toward new opportunities in the state of Florida, nationally and around the world.”

Farr said that becoming a college will engage Dedman alumni which could also have a financial benefit.

“Our alumni are very excited,” he said.  “We expect — and we hope — giving will go up.”

This spring, the college will add a new undergraduate degree program in Recreation, Tourism and Events. The program was previously housed in the College of Applied Studies at FSU Panama City.

With the addition of degrees offered at the college, Farr said he expects enrollment will tick upward, too. The school’s current enrollment is about 600 students.

Farr said increasing the number of students is great but not at the expense of the quality of education and service Dedman currently offers.

“Slow, steady growth is important to maintain that high level that we are at now,” he said.

The Dedman School of Hospitality was founded in 1947. Since that time, the school’s slate of academic offerings has grown to include two undergraduate degrees, two minors and a master’s program. Hands-on experience is a large feature of Dedman programs and students have internship and study abroad opportunities around the world including Ireland, Switzerland, Australia, and Italy.

In recent years, the school has leapt up the rankings for the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, the preeminent university hospitality rankings.

In the most recent rankings, Dedman was No. 7 nationally and No. 15 in the world.

While the global pandemic has hit the hospitality and tourism industry especially hard, Farr said he is optimistic for the future of the newly minted college as well as the industry it educates its students to lead.

“In my opinion, it’s the best time in the world to become a hospitality student,” he said. “Hospitality and tourism will drive the economic recovery that we have ahead of us, certainly here in Florida, and around the world.”

The announcement is the latest dose of good news for the school, which received a $1 million donation in October by Mrs. Deen Day Sanders to establish and support a slate of academic initiatives at the school.

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