Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events ‘brews’ success


Posted Sun, Apr 26, 2015

MSU Denver students are inspired by new facilities and accredited staff

Hospitality, Events and Tourism

The Hospitality, Tourism and Event department’s has increased more than 350 percent since 1998. [Photo: Alexanda Gorski]

DENVER, Auraria Campus — The department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events  facilitates a learning environment that breeds success for MSU Denver students. By opening doors for students to be hired by well-known employers like Walt Disney World, United Airlines and the Marriott Corp., the HTE department is preparing students to succeed with confidence.

From Weddings to Cruises

“Our program is ever changing to meet the student’s needs, and is specifically designed to facilitate eating, drinking and interactions with others, and arm you with skills in the latest technology and the delivery of customer service.”

The HTE department offers a wide range of classes focusing on hospitality, tourism and events. Some of the more unique offerings include classes on Wedding Planning, Food, Wine and Beverage Fundamentals and Cruise Tourism.

With enrollment growth boasting at over 350 percent since their inaugural year in 1998, student can expect to flourish in a department that is consistently growing by adding new scholarships, student-founded clubs, continuing education programs.

A Unique Combination 

The largest piece of success for the department is the Hospitality Learning Center, a one-of-a-kind hotel and learning lab hybrid. The HTE building also hosts the main office for the department. Described as “a unique combination of a higher-education classroom building, teaching laboratory and commercial hotel and conference center,” students can get hands-on experience in their own backyard.

Completed in 2012, the Hospitality Learning Center building contains classrooms, a culinary demonstration theatre and a natural light sensory lab. The sensory lab is one of the few laboratories of its kind within the United States. Designed around sunlight, the purpose of this room is to experience tasting food and beverage without any conflicts of sound, light or other aroma. Other attractions of the Hospitality Learning Center include a 3,100 plus wine cellar with seats and a large table for students. There are also Specialty Food and Quantity Food Laboratories as well as a Mixology Restaurant Laboratory.


“YES CHEF:” Dr. Chad Gruhl says if you like people the HTE department is a great place to learn. [Photo: Alexandra Gorski]

Another large attraction of the department is the student-run Metropolitan Grill. The restaurant sits on the main floor of the Hospitality Learning Center, and is open during the school year for lunch. The menu served at the grill varies every day from Italian to New York style sandwiches, soup and dessert. The students act as chefs and wait staff; preparing food and communicating with customers while a faculty member is nearby.

Student-Run Hotel

Located next to the Hospitality Learning Center is The Springfield Suites Marriott Hotel, an on-campus hotel run by students studying hotel management and hospitality. Also completed in 2012, Dr. Chad Gruhl, the motivation behind the construction of both the Learning Center and the hotel, was motived by other hospitality programs across the country. With roughly 10 programs comparable to the program at MSU Denver, Gruhl hopes to inspire students to take advantage of the high-quality facilities on campus and pursue an education in hospitality, tourism and events.

“I worked in hotels for 15 years, if you’re going to do hotels, I would recommend a program like this. My undergrad was nothing like this,” Gruhl said. (Gruhl had studied business with a minor in hotels and restaurant management)

Gruhl, an associate professor of hotel management at MSU Denver, hopes all of his students grow while taking any of his classes.

“As my father used to say, ‘If you’re hurting, and you’re going through pain, that means you’re growing.’ With any students, being young and realizing within their current jobs, I hope to show them how to treat their employees. Take that negative and turn it into a positive.”

To any prospective students interested in the HTE department, Gruhl offers this advice: “If you like people, this is a great one. If you don’t, God forbid, you don’t do it. If you don’t like people, please don’t be here. Leave.”

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