EAST LANSING, MI—The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University hosted the annual Celebration of Leadership at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Nov. 8.
The event honored Kirk Kinsell, president, The Americas, for InterContinental Hotels Group, as Industry Leader of the Year. In addition, The School’s Alumni Association welcomed four new members to its Hall of Fame Class of Alumni Leaders.
The inductees were Dan E. Burdakin (BA ’81), president of Positive Management Group III; Billy Downs (BA ’88), founder of B.D. Mongolian Grill and special events director for Team World Vision; John F. Theuer (BA ’83, MBA ’83), retired CFO of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Panda Express; and Ken Weber (BA ’77), president of Weber’s Restaurant & Boutique Hotel.
Over 250 guests attended Celebration of Leadership and included alumni, faculty and staff, and family, friends and colleagues of the honorees. A record 73 students came to New York for the event, as well as to participate in a dozen professional development programs throughout the city, including attendance at the International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show. Eight of the students were in New York for the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) Student Leadership Conference. According to the school, a record amount in generous sponsorships was given in recognition of Kinsell and the Hall of Fame inductees, which helped fund the students’ travel and will assist in programming throughout the year.