Department of Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management

Alumni Spotlight

Emily Hand ('07)
Emily started at Eataly in August of 2010, prior to the store opening later that month. It was her first job as a sommelier, although she had been studying wine on her own for a couple of years. She worked her way up through the Pizza Pasta restaurant to the Piazza, Pesce & Verdure section. In September of 2011, Emily moved to Manzo full-time, which is a fine-dining steakhouse style restaurant with a list of more than 800 Italian wines. She achieved "Certified Sommelier" accreditation shortly after transitioning into Manzo, and then became the wine director less than one year later. In April of 2013. she was appointed Beverage Director of Eataly, overseeing the many wine lists across all of the aforementioned restaurants, and additionally the Birreria (rooftop brewery). Emily helps coordinate store-wide promotions, which are usually regionally focused; this allows producers to showcase their wines at Eataly and they utilize these wines in the restaurants, retail wine store and in the culinary center, La Scuola. One of her favorite parts of the job is teaching food and wine classes in the Scuola, as many as five to six times per week.  Emily has a team of four additional sommeliers who help educate the servers, bartenders and managers. It's safe to say she has found her dream job.


William Woodson ('08)
William started with Restaurant Associates in New York City shortly after graduation. Prior to starting full-time, he participated in two internships with Restaurant Associates. After some movement in the company, He landed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a Café Manager, a union house. While at the MET, he was promoted to Director of Cafeterias, while also working to develop and manage the other four restaurants at the MET. Many of the things that he learned while at the University of Delaware have helped him to become a better manager, while refining the skill set that he acquired from on the job training. He continues to love the industry and his alma mater.


Drew DiFonzo ('12) and Rebecca Simon ('12)
Drew joined The Waldorf-Astoria as a MDP right after graduation.  His first assignment was Peacock Alley, followed by Bull & Bear and then Overnight Front Office. After 15 months, he was promoted to Banquet Manager and he is involved in all aspects of the operation, including Banquet Service, Banquet Beverage and MBO. "Andrew is as hard working as they come in this business and is an amazingly quick study of the Waldorf Astoria. Most importantly, Andrew is a true team player, works respectfully with our associates and  collaboratively with his peers," said Geoffrey Cousineau, Drew's manager.

Rebecca: joined the Management Development Program (MDP) at The Waldorf Astoria in June of 2012 right after graduation with the desired track of Event Planning. She started in Meeting and Banquet Operations (MBO) which is responsible for all executive meetings and Grand Ballroom dinner sets. She learned the importance of time management and forecasting to ensure all sets that needed to be completed were set up in advance for the VIP meetings. Rebecca then transitioned to the Banquets/Coffee Crew department where she oversaw all AM food and beverage functions for the smaller scale meetings and assisted the Director of Banquets with high profile dinners and receptions. From there she moved to Guest Services which was more of a front of the house operational department and worked closely with the Valet, Doorman, Concierge, Bell Captain, Package Room and worked directly with the Front Office. During this rotation she was able to open the brand new Motor Court and work directly to ensure its continued success. In October of 2013 after 16 months of being in the MDP Program, Rebecca graduated and became an Event Manager. Her main focus is on groups with 75 rooms on peak night or less and handle primarily the small VIP meetings and wedding room blocks.

"Rebecca has consistently proven to be a super star (as attested by past managers who were hesitant to let her go on to her next rotations)! We are very fortunate and excited to welcome Rebecca to Events. With the combination of her past experiences and positive attitude, we know she will be a great addition to our team. Thank you in advance for lending your support as she begins this next phase of her career," said Rebecca's manager, Adrianna A. Murphy.


The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.5 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Club, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Undergraduate scholarships, made possible through the generosity of alumni and friends, enable us to support promising scholars. Here, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and his mother, Leni Markell, join recipients of the William Markell Scholarship (center), which benefits students in Accounting and MIS.

The Institute for Financial Services Analytics is a collaboration between the Lerner College, UD's College of Engineering and JPMorgan Chase, and hosts events for academics and the business community designed to address consumer analytics and industry applications.

All Lerner College departments offer discovery learning experiences and emphasize data-based analytics to enrich the student experience. Here, students at Vita Nova, our award-winning restaurant run through HRIM, joined professional chefs and winemakers in hosting a 2014 Mid-Atlantic Wine and Food Festival event.

Lerner College faculty - like Meryl Gardner, whose research on foods and moods was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

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