Auburn’s O’Neill to lead international hospitality education organization

Published: September 23, 2014
Updated: September 24, 2014
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AUBURN UNIVERSITY – For Auburn's Martin O'Neill, serving as president of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education, or ICHRIE, is an opportunity to improve the quality of global education and promote the university's hotel and restaurant management program.

O'Neill, head of the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management in the College of Human Sciences, has been involved in ICHRIE since he came to Auburn 11 years ago. When his colleagues at the international organization sought to unanimously nominate him to be vice president, O'Neill proudly accepted. The position takes an individual directly to president and then immediate past president for a three-year term. He served as vice president last year and recently began his presidential term.

"There is no greater honor in our organizational body and in our profession than to sit in that role, and it's a great honor to have that sort of faith bestowed in you – to do this job," O'Neill said.

"As president, I have to shepherd the process of our next strategic planning effort," O'Neill said. "That process is all about reflecting on existing service provision, equality service provision, identifying priorities for the future and making sure that growth and quality of service provision remain current for existing and new members."

As for his role at Auburn, O'Neill says this is another opportunity to accomplish the program's strategic plan of service, outreach, extension and networking.

"It's a very fitting honor, but I cannot do what I am doing without the people that I am surrounded by," O'Neill said. "It's called mission human sciences and that is what we aspire to do."

He said this opportunity gives Auburn University name recognition and overall a better program reputation, which leads to the attraction of high quality students and the right type of support. With a Ph.D. program ranked sixth in the nation, a highly ranked master's program and a nationally accredited undergraduate program, the hotel and restaurant management program intends to focus not on growth, but on a better quality program and a better quality graduate.

"When people see Martin O'Neill on a stage, they're not just thinking about me; they're thinking about Auburn University," O'Neill said. "You are a product of your environment. So if you are giving good to your profession, it's because your institution is giving good to you."

Founded in 1946, ICHRIE is the global advocate of hospitality and tourism education schools, colleges and universities offering programs in hotel and restaurant management, foodservice management and culinary arts.

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