ETTRICK, Va.—Alumni panelists spoke to a packed room recently at Virginia State University College of Agriculture’s Hospital Management Department. Each graduate of the department, reflected on what they learned, the connections they made and the impact that had on their careers.
Some said the connections made and experience gained while at VSU led directly to job opportunities in the industry upon graduating. For others, a brief venture into hospitality management led to a desire to return to academia to instruct others from both a theoretical and experiential perspective. One panelist merged his interest in the hospitality industry with his farming enterprise and created value-added products.
Despite diverse journeys, all alumni had the commitment, perseverance, resiliency and work ethic to accomplish their evolving goals. They unanimously noted that their most valuable assets during their time at VSU were the relationships they built. They encouraged the students to build relationships with their instructors during office hours, to actively participate in clubs or organizations and to apply for internships.
Panelists included Taliya C. Bennett, Emerald P. Bowman, Dayna Flowers, Kenesha Forrest, Dr. E’Lisha V. Fogle, Ricky Gaines, Cameron Scott and Dr. DeQuan Smith. “When successful alumni return to inspire our current students, it is the perfect example of the ‘Greater that Happens Here,’ at Virginia State University,” said Dr. Robert N. Corley III, interim dean and 1890 administrator for the College of Agriculture and vice provost for Academic and Student Affairs. “Congratulations to our dynamic faculty and staff who work tirelessly to ensure that students have the knowledge, skills and internship opportunities required for the 21st century workforce. Special thanks to Dr. Bradford and Dr. Zhong for their outstanding leadership.”
For more information about VSU College of Agriculture Hospitality Management, visit https://www.vsu.edu/
–Michelle Burchett, Virginia State University