Nicolas Graf, Johnathan M. Tisch, and Dean Susan Greenbaum with students
February 17, 2021

Announcement of the Jonathan M. Tisch Chair

Dear Members of the SPS Community,

It is my sincere pleasure to announce the establishment of the Jonathan M. Tisch Chair, which has been endowed through the generosity of Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch. For those of you who do not know Jon as well as we do, he is the chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels & Co, co-chairman of the board of Loews Corporation, and a long-time champion of the School of Professional Studies. Through this transformational gift, the position of associate dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality will now also include the title of Jonathan M. Tisch Chair. Assuming this inaugural faculty position is current Associate Dean of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, Nicolas Graf, PhD.

Few supporters have matched the incredible impact of Jon’s generosity and influence on the trajectory and the mission of NYU SPS. In addition to his continuous philanthropic support, Jon serves as conference chair of the NYU SPS Tisch Center’s International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, the leading global conference in the hospitality industry. Aside from the immeasurable impact this conference has on the hospitality and tourism sectors, the funds generated by the Conference have provided scholarships for Tisch students, including a universal scholarship of $10,000 for every new graduate student enrolling in the Tisch Center.

Beyond the Conference, Jon serves as the chairman emeritus for the Advisory Board of the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. He hires our graduates and offers students a wide range of internship opportunities, frequently serves as a moderator for Tisch Center industry panels, and continuously supports NYU SPS fundraising efforts. In short, Jon has been an integral part of our community for over 30 years and has acted with graciousness and enthusiasm throughout his affiliation with the School.

Jon is a giant in the hospitality and travel industry, and a driving force in its continuing evolution. Admired and deeply respected by his peers, he has played a pivotal role in convening top hotel executives to discuss the industry as a whole—now and in the future. In 2016, Jon was voted “Hotelier of the World” by HOTELS magazine for his leadership in the travel and tourism industry.

Throughout his long history with NYU, Jon has demonstrated an unwavering passion for the educational mission of the University and its extraordinary students. His contributions to the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality and the School of Professional Studies are simply unparalleled.

Jon recently noted, “Having spent my professional career in hospitality, it is an honor to help support the future leaders of this dynamic industry. Associate Dean Nicolas Graf has done an exceptional job leading the Tisch Center to new heights and I look forward to continuing to work with him for many years to come.”

Since joining the School of Professional Studies in 2018, Nicolas Graf has led a comprehensive overhaul of the curriculum at the Tisch Center in response to student and industry needs. He also has prioritized greater educational affordability for students and recently established a new hospitality innovation hub (HI Hub). The facility includes an experiential learning lab, a prototyping lab, and a co-working space. The HI Hub also will operate an incubator program designed to encourage and empower change in the industry and support its recovery. Nicolas’ close relationship with industry leaders has elevated the profile of the Tisch Center and has kept it at the forefront of addressing the dynamic needs of the hospitality field. He works in lockstep with Jon on many projects and initiatives, including the industry leading annual conference.

Nicolas recently commented, “Jon is an icon whose reputation shines well beyond hospitality and travel. He has inspired me and countless others through his leadership, philanthropy, and impact. His continuous support over so many years has provided the motivation for ensuring that the Tisch Center is, and remains, the leading hospitality program in the world. It is my distinct honor to serve as the inaugural Jonathan M. Tisch Chair.”

Please join me in celebrating this momentous occasion at the School of Professional Studies.


Susan Greenbaum, EdD

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