Photo taken in 2019 at a hospitality networking event.

There’s no doubt about it. When safe to do so, Americans will be ready to party.

As the months slog on in a wake of canceled gatherings, celebrations and events, Concordia’s Batterman School of Business is preparing students enrolled in the Hospitality and Event Business program for the great return to dining, gathering, lodging, and celebrating.

“We don’t know when this will happen, we just know it will happen” says Daniel Underberg, director of the Sport and Hospitality Business program. “We believe the significant demand for qualified industry leaders prior to the pandemic will return—and faster than people expect.”

In 2019, hospitality’s direct, indirect and induced impact accounted for 16.8 million jobs in the United States and 330 million around the world, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Concordia hosted a major hospitality networking event in 2019 (pictured above) to help students make connections in the booming industry.

Underberg and his new colleague, Dr. W. Clarke Griffin, used 2020 to retool and reimagine Concordia’s hospitality program to better prepare students for the diversity of opportunities and specialties offered within the expansive events and hospitality industry.

The once catch-all Hospitality and Event Management degree will be served in four different concentrations beginning in August 2021:

  1. Food & Beverage Management
  2. Lodging Management
  3. Event Management
  4. Hospitality Business

“We wanted to grow and expand what was already in place,” says Underberg. “Dr. Griffin designed a program where students can pick a specialty to fit their unique career goals.”

Griffin, assistant professor of the Sport and Hospitality Business, was brought in to lead the Hospitality and Event Business program. A 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Griffin has worked in notable kitchens and properties across the country before pivoting to teaching.

Griffin had already earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts from The Culinary Institute of America.  He enrolled at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh to complete a bachelor degree in Culinary Management. From there he went on to earn an MBA from McKendree University, and finally an Ed.D. in Higher Education from Concordia University—Portland.

He is pleased to bring his education and experience to Concordia.

“At Concordia we focus on the whole person,” says Griffin. “What that means in our program is that we develop hospitality students with the business skills necessary to be successful in all areas of the industry.”

The program is now accepting applications for fall 2021. If you are interested in learning more about the exciting field of Hospitality and Business, please visit


— Lisa Liljegren is vice president of marketing and strategic communications.

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