Hospitality professor shines with international title

For Dennis Reynolds, hospitality acts as a teaching tool he can use throughout life.

Reynolds’ election as president of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (I-CHRIE) has given him a way to share his knowledge.

“I really wanted to give back,” he said. “It was my time. Career-wise, I’m basically at my peak.”

Reynolds, an associate professor in the school of hospitality and business management (SHBM) at WSU, recently took the highest volunteer position of the international society.

“I have been working up to it,” he said. “You could say I campaigned heavily.”

As part of his one-year presidential commitment to I-CHRIE, Reynolds will establish the society’s next five-year plan on innovations, improvements and events for 2015-2020.

 “In terms of fundraising, you need a foundation for companies to give to a foundation with certain goals,” he said.

Setting up a foundation reduces the uncertainty for donors and sets up easy guidelines and expectations, he said.

“The goal now is to not look back and really look at what is possible for the future,” Reynolds said.

As I-CHRIE president, Reynolds will attend all international conferences, serve as master of ceremonies during the organization’s international awards banquet, and attend the organization’s board meetings over his year-long term.

He intends to tie his experience as an educator with his role as president of the international society.

He said he looked up to the professors who were chairs on the board when he first started serving I-CHRIE. They offered him guidance, mentoring and motivation.

I-CHRIE is a global organization designed to support hospitality, tourism, education, and research.

WSU is one of the 528 accredited hospitality schools that own membership to the I-CHRIE. Reynolds is the fifth WSU faculty member to head the organization, which is the most of any university in the United States since I-CHRIE was established 67 years ago.

Reynolds volunteered and served as a board member for I-CHRIE for about 20 years prior to his presidential appointment.

Reynolds has taught for ten years at WSU and serves as the faculty adviser for Eta Sigma Delta, an international hospitality honors society established by I-CHRIE. He developed the wine business management major in the school and is director of the program.

He earned his doctorate from Cornell University in organizational behavior before teaching at WSU, and he is ranked 15th in the world in terms of research productivity.

In continuing his advising and professional role at SHBM, Reynolds believes one of the major priorities of SHBM now should be advising and engaging undergraduate students in research in the hospitality and administrative fields.

He said he is proud of students from WSU who represent SHBM at leadership conferences around the country, but undergraduates still have the potential to contribute to innovative business research.

In October, Reynolds will travel to Germany to attend meetings for Euro-CHRIE, which encompasses I-CHRIE federations in Europe, the Mediterranean Basin and Africa.