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Pat Moreo, Dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management for Five Years Steps Down

By Keith Morelli

Pat Moreo

TAMPA (August 12, 2021) -- Pat Moreo, the dean of the Muma College of Business’ School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, is stepping down after five years at the helm of the innovative and evolving program. He plans to continue to conduct research and get back to his true love, teaching.

Taking Moreo’s place, at least for now, is Cihan Cobanoglu who was appointed interim dean of the school for one year while a nationwide search for a permanent leader takes place. He is the McKibbon Endowed Chair, director of M3 Center & Coordinator of International Programs for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. He is a renowned hospitality and tourism technology expert and a Fulbright specialist.

"Dr. Pat has been a phenomenal leader for our school and he has worked very hard to serve our students and the industry," said Cobanoglu. "We are very thankful to his service and his continuation as part of the faculty."

Like Moreo, Cobanoglu said the focus of the program is to make the program available on the Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses, "while growing our Sarasota program.

"We would like the hospitality school to be a catalyst for the Tampa bay area," he said. "We will create certificate programs for the industry as well as integrate business analytics into the graduate program."

Moreo said the program, which was only offered on the Sarasota-Manatee campus until USF's consolidation last year, offers so much more than teaching the ins and outs of catering, hotel management and restaurant leadership.

“Hospitality education had its first program in 1922 at Cornell,” he said. “A lot has happened since then, but the core goals of preparing educated hospitality professionals for high functioning positions in both the profession and society have not changed.

“Surely, technology, marketing and communications have changed drastically,” he said. “We have had to keep up and sometimes be on the leading edge of that. But, at its core, hospitality -- welcoming guests – has continued as the most important thing we teach and research.

“Indeed, hospitality education is applied management,” he said. “We take all the best of business education and teach and research it in the living context of the profession.

“Management thus comes alive for the students and the faculty.”

Over the past half-decade, the school prospered under Moreo’s leadership. He led the program through consolidation, made all the necessary revisions to the strategic plan to prepare for the merger into the Muma College of Business and created a plan to offer the major to students on the Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses in addition to its home on the Sarasota-Manatee campus.

Under his leadership, Moreo saw the successful accreditation of the school by the prestigious Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA).

Moreo also reached an agreement with Aramark, the catering service under contract with USF, to use its facilities for hospitality school lab courses as needed in both in Tampa and St. Petersburg. He also incorporated a café on the Sarasota-Manatee campus to be a hospitality lab and received approval to add a chef instructor to the faculty and teach courses as well as manage the café.

An ongoing challenge is student enrollment, he said, so he designed a student recruitment plan to increase the number of students in the school, with a focus on capitalizing the Tampa Bay area market.

“The plan is currently under implementation,” Moreo said. It allows students to earn the degree on the Tampa campus, a key component to the success of the program. Several courses will be offered through a hybrid format simultaneously in Tampa and Sarasota-Manatee to accommodate needing a course to be offered in both places with current faculty levels.

 “I cannot thank Pat enough for the amazing job he has done leading the school during the last five years,” said Moez Limayem, dean of the Muma College of Business in an announcement last month.