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Kemmons Wilson School at U of M to Operate Independently

For release: February 4, 2014
For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The University of Memphis recently announced a strategic shift to operate the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management (KWS) as an independent school within the University. The KWS, which has been housed as a part of the Fogelman College of Business & Economics (FCBE) for the past decade, will now have a unique opportunity to serve its students with a more industry-driven curriculum. 

“We are very excited for the new positioning of the Kemmons Wilson School,” said Kemmons Wilson Jr. “We want to provide a real-world environment within an academic setting. For example, the School itself is housed in a full-service hotel and conference center. By broadening our course curricula, students will be better prepared on a wide range of hospitality issues. Ultimately, it will allow us to improve our training in regards to first-hand service standards, business challenges and real-time operations.”

"As our enrollment grows, we believe that the Kemmons Wilson School has achieved the critical mass it needs to offer a more focused program in hospitality and resort management,” said Dr. Radesh Palakurthi, professor and director of the School. 

Palakurthi added that the new bachelor’s curriculum has 60 credit hours of coursework in the major compared to about one-third of that previously. It will also offer concentrations in lodging, food and beverage, and event management in the near future to better meet the needs of its students.

“As an important institutional partner of I.H.G. Academy (InterContinental Hotel Group) and The Hilton Worldwide based in Memphis, we have striven to provide our students with the necessary skills to become successful managers in the rapidly globalizing hospitality and resort industry,” added Palakurthi. “Such skills are accomplished through experiential learning, mandatory internships, computer assisted learning and simulations, and live corporate cases. We believe that this independence will allow us to be in sync with the needs of the industry.”

“The Kemmons Wilson School has grown considerably in the last several years and, after 10 years of wonderful support from the FCBE, is ready to move toward autonomy,” said U of M Provost David Rudd. “This step will allow the school to focus on the unique demands of the rapidly evolving hospitality industry, along with local partnerships, growing the resort management side of the school, and a co-op effort at the Lambuth Campus. I have great confidence that the school will quickly rise to be a national leader.”  

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