CHRIE Communique applauding our hosting of the 2011 conference.

4/4/2012

The Road to Tuskegee

Cynthia 5.  Deale, Ph.D.,  is Immediate  Past President  of   ICHRIE & Associate Professor of Hospitality Management, Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University.

As 2011 comes to a close, I, like many people, take stock of the past year and look ahead to the new year. As I look back over ICHRIE this past year, I have many fond memories and numerous things to be thankful for including our new case study initiative (thanks to Mariana Sigala), the SHARE Center (thanks to Steve Hood of Smith TravelResearch), the CVents partnership (thanks to Kathy McCarty and events), the restaurant  manage­ ment challenge soon to be underway  (thanks to Kathy McCarty and Knowledge Matters) a revitalized SIG Council (thanks to Dina Zemke), a better submission platform for the 2012 conference (thanks to Dennis Reynolds and the ICHRIE Research Committee), a leadership track at the Career Academy (thanks to Rich Ghiselli and the ICHRIE Professional Development Com­ mittee), the first ICHRIE Career Fair (thanks to Carl Boger), the ongoing development  of an industry toolkit (thanks to our Industry folks), the emerging economies membership initiative under development (thanks to APac CHRIE and the ICHRIE  Membership committee), working with  a great board, and lots of other great activities and valuable contributions made by our members, as wellas numerous worthwhile conferences and meetings.

And the meetings and conferences are where I want to focus a few of my words as we look ahead to 2012. Last year, I had the privilege of attending a variety  of excellent meetings for ICHRIE and its various federa­tions and chapters. Recently, in October of this year, I had the pleasure of going to our Southeast CHRIE (SE CHRIE) Chapter's annual fall conference at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. The event was special in several ways. First, this conference was the inau­gural ICHRIE-related event hosted by and taking place
at a Historically Black College or University  (HBCU). Arguably, Tuskegee is one of the most famous HBCUs in the U.S. At our conference, we toured Booker T. Washington's gracious home, learned about everything that  people can possibly do with  a peanut or sweet potato at the George Washington Carver Museum, and stood in awe of all that we saw at the Tuskegee Airmen Museum.

ICHRIE, or in this case SE CHRIE, brought us to Tuske­gee to share in this place steeped in important history. Booker T. Washington is a name that  we all may know, but my guess is that not many of us have traveled  to his home or visited the university  he lead to national prominence. George Washington Carver is another well-known figure in US history, who devoted much of his life to improving  economic conditions  for farmers, but my guess is that not many of us have been to the campus or museum honoring his legacy. The Tuskegee Airmen are famous for their heroic efforts during World War II, but most of us probably know them best be­ cause of the movie that told their  story. Yet, through SE CHRIE  and our wonderful hosts  at Tuskegee, includ­ing Dr. Steven Lonis-Shumate, at the conference we were able to stroll through this celebrated place in admiration and with respect and to have the pleasure of taking it all in with our ICHRIE friends.  Thanks to all of the SE CHRIE members who traveled to Tuske­ gee and special thanks to Wanda Costen (the SE CHRIE Chapter president)  and her son, Brumby Mcleod  and his colleague from the College of Charleston, Larry Stalcup (treasurer of the SE CHRIE federation) and his wife  Joan, Patricia Agnew, and Mary Roseman for the pleasure of their company throughout  the weekend at the only university in the U.S. that is a National Historic  Site.

I had not seriously given much thought to the idea that ICHRIE goes beyond being a vehicle for networking and sharing teaching and research ideas. It also allows us, as members, to have unique opportunities to learn about our world in thoughtful ways. The trip to Tuske­gee was memorable, special  and, I might add, a bit profound  for those of us who ventured  there this year. Without  SE CHRIE, I might never have ventured to Ala­bama to seek out these historic  sites and learn about these amazing, gifted, and courageous Americans.I am glad I did and bet that others who attended are also glad that  they made the trip  to the Kellogg Conference Center on the beautiful Tuskegee University campus. We met to share not only our research presentations, but also learning experiences about people we may have known of throughout much of our lives. Yet perhaps only now, through our time together  at the SE CHRIE fall conference, do we truly  appreciate  them.

At the end of the conference, I think  we left  with  a deeper understanding of  the efforts put forth  and the contributions to education and society made by those at Tuskegee and by their  sense of grace, dignity, and honor. Thank you for the memories ICHRIE and SE CHRIE, and I look forward to creating new ones with all of you in 2012.

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