SARASOTA, Fla. (March 2, 2016) – USF Sarasota-Manatee has named Dr. Patrick J. Moreo as dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, replacing interim Dean Dr. James Curran.
Dr. Moreo brings to USFSM more than 30 years of experience at college hospitality programs and currently serves as a professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration.
“This is a signature program in the USF System, and I see this as an opportunity to make this program shine and to focus on those things that are important,” Dr. Moreo, 67, said. “This program is growing and in good hands. As dean, I want to keep it moving forward.”
After Dr. Moreo starts, Dr. Curran will relinquish his position as interim dean, which he assumed about a year ago, and focus solely on his role as dean of the College of Business.
Dr. Moreo’s first day is July 1. He is scheduled to be introduced Friday night to faculty, donors, alumni and other campus supporters at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s 40th Anniversary gala dinner at the Polo Grill and Bar in Lakewood Ranch.
“Dr. Moreo is an excellent addition to our campus and to our College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership,” Dr. Sandra Stone, regional chancellor, said. “His credentials in hospitality and tourism are impressive and a perfect fit for the future of the college and our region.”
Dr. Moreo comes to USFSM with a wide-ranging and comprehensive background at several college hospitality programs, beginning in 1975 as a teaching assistant at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
He has since taught at programs at Pennsylvania State University, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University (OSU) and UNLV where, in addition to teaching, he served as an associate dean for three years and department chair for five years. Altogether, he has served for 13 years as a faculty member at UNLV’s College of Hotel Administration.
Dr. Moreo received his doctoral degree in higher education administration in 1983 and a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1969, both from UNLV. He received a master’s degree in hotel administration in 1976 from Cornell.
Among other career highlights, Dr. Moreo assisted in planning and creating two campus buildings at OSU, served as co-director and co-founder of the Summer Studies in Switzerland Program at Penn State and served as director of the graduate program at the College of Hotel Administration at UNLV.
At New Mexico State, he elevated the hospitality program to department status and while at OSU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, he helped triple undergraduate enrollment while also building master’s and doctoral degree programs there.
Dr. Moreo’s selection as dean comes after an exhaustive search that began last summer. He was contacted in October about the opening and interviewed twice, first in January by USFSM leadership and then in February by USFSM leadership and faculty.
“USF Sarasota-Manatee is fortunate to be welcoming Dr. Moreo as the new dean of our College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership,” said Dr. Terry Osborn, regional vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. “Dr. Moreo has decades of experience leading hospitality and tourism students, faculty and staff at a number of prestigious institutions and that wealth of knowledge will help take our college to the next level.”
As a part-time dishwasher in the 1960s during high school, Dr. Moreo said he never imagined a life in academia and instead pictured himself running a restaurant or hotel. However, an experience as a teaching assistant in the mid-1970s at Cornell University opened his eyes to a new career and prompted him to further his education.
“I just loved the notion of learning and discovering new things for myself and passing those things on to other people,” Dr. Moreo said. “It’s always good to give knowledge and inspiration to others.”
In his initial weeks as dean, however, he said he intends to “just listen to others” to better understand the college, its faculty and students before recommending changes.
The college currently includes two off-campus locations: the Culinary Innovation Lab on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch and the Teaching Hotel at the Resort at Longboat Key Club. It also maintains numerous intern partnerships throughout the region.
Based on initial impressions, he said he sees the college as developing into an elite “boutique” program of roughly 500 to 600 students focused on management and leadership within the hospitality industry.
He expects it to continue to forge bonds with local industry professionals, supply interns and future graduates to that industry and serve as a resource for hotels and restaurants. He also believes the college will continue to focus on hospitality and tourism management rather than become a culinary arts program.
“The culinary arts are a part of what we do, but we are not a culinary program,” Dr. Moreo said. “The culinary part of it is there, but it’s in service to the management side. You won’t need to know how to make a hollandaise sauce, but you better know what it should taste like.”