NEW YORK, February 22, 2010 — Lalia Rach, divisional dean and HVS professor of the NYU Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, will step down from the dean’s role at the end of the 2009-10 academic year and return to teaching full-time, conducting research, and mentoring students at the Tisch Center.
During her 15-year tenure, Rach transformed the higher education programs in hospitality, tourism, and sports management at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies (NYU-SCPS) earning the Center a global reputation as a “best in class” academic center of study and applied research in these fields. Having started without undergraduate or graduate programs, nor full-time faculty, Rach took a nascent Center established just the year before she joined NYU, and spearheaded the development of innovative professionally focused undergraduate curricula for traditional-age undergraduates, as well as parallel graduate programs, and recruited scholars and experts in each field to be a part of the Center’s full-time faculty. She can be fairly credited with having created the Tisch Center as it is today.
The Center offers two bachelor’s degrees (B.S. programs in Hotel and Tourism Management and Sports Management), three master’s degrees (M.S. programs in Hospitality Industry Studies, Sports Business, and Tourism and Travel Management), and three graduate-level certificates (in Hospitality Industry Studies, Sports Business, and Tourism and Travel Management). These programs enroll more than 500 undergraduate and graduate students, drawn from across the country and abroad, and claim 1,600-plus alumni working locally and globally. The faculty now includes 13 full-time clinical professors as well as more than 80 dedicated adjuncts, all of whom are leading industry practitioners.
Another of Rach’s notable accomplishments has been the growth and unmatched stature of the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, hosted each June in New York City for the past 31 years, and now considered the premier hospitality finance and development forum of its kind. Annual attendance has grown to nearly 2,000 industry practitioners—among them CEOs and leading finance and real estate executives. Under her aegis, the Conference has attracted an impressive number of patrons and sponsors whose contributions have provided philanthropic support for the Tisch Center and funded millions of dollars in student scholarships. A highlight of each conference in the past 15 years has been the opening segment, moderated by Rach herself, during which she has interviewed more than 60 global hotel CEOs about current and future trends.
NYU-SCPS Dean Robert S. Lapiner said, “Our School and our University are indebted to Lalia for her visionary and creative leadership, for her rigorous standards, high expectations, nurturing hand, and unstinting devotion to generations of students. She is beloved and admired among leaders in the industries for which the Tisch Center prepares future leaders, and has been an altogether exemplary academic entrepreneur at NYU. The strength and world-wide reputation of the Tisch Center—for which she deserves full praise—is a source of great pride for us all. And apart from her creative leadership and outstanding team building at the Tisch Center, she has been a great colleague within the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies overall.
“Lalia Rach has been a refreshingly frank, insightful, and clear-headed member of our School’s academic and administrative leadership, and her voice and her energies have helped shape the progress we have all achieved together. Though she is stepping down as divisional dean, our community looks forward to her ongoing contributions as a member of the Tisch Center faculty, fostering the intellectual and professional development of our students, and productively advancing the important applied research projects to which she has been eager to devote her attention,” Lapiner added.
“As the dean of a Center that in 15 years has emerged as one of the preeminent applied research and educational organizations for the business of hospitality, tourism, and sports,” reflects Rach, “my achievements are those of my accomplished alumni, faculty, students, and staff. To remain in their distinguished company as I transition back to full-time faculty is a particular joy across a quarter century of teaching and service in higher education.”
Prior to working at NYU-SCPS, Rach served as dean of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management and professor of hospitality studies at the University of New Haven (CT).
Rach has authored numerous articles and chapters on customer service, hotel sales and marketing, and consumer demographics, and delivered keynote speeches and seminars on a variety of consumer issues and perspectives. She serves as a board member for NYC & Company (Convention & Visitors Bureau), New York City Academy of Travel and Tourism, New York Society of Association Executives, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (Americas), and the World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Training. She is also a member of the Travel Business Roundtable, Industry Real Estate Finance Advisory Council (IREFAC), the Women’s Forum Inc., the Women in Lodging Council, and the New York Hospitality Council.
In November 2007, Travel Weekly included Rach in its list of the 33 most influential people in the travel industry. In January 2008, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) selected Rach as one of the “Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.” In June 2008, ForbesLife Executive Woman magazine identified Rach as one of the 25 most influential women in travel. Her latest recognition came from the NYU Tisch Center Alumni Society in October 2009 with their selection of Rach as the 2009 Legend of the Industry.
Rach holds a B.S. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, an M.B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University.