StartUP FIU Hosts Pitch Day For Second Cohort

StartUp FIU is hosting a Pitch Day on May 9, 2017 for the second Empower Accelerator Program Cohort. Teams will have successfully completed the 14-week accelerator program, participated in more than 30 presentations and workshops, taken part in critical mentoring and business advice, and presented their required weekly deliverables in preparation for the day. Pitch day is open to anyone who is interested in watching the teams pitch their ideas to potential investors, and registration is free on Eventbrite. For more information about the teams, click here. About StartUP FIU: StartUP FIU is an initiative focused on developing traditional and social entrepreneurship among students, faculty/staff, alumni and the South Florida community. Its Empower Accelerator Program is a 14-week accelerator program, consisting of a robust curriculum, critical mentoring and business advice, and weekly team deliverables. Each week of the program is based on a theme around which lectures and events are scheduled. Successful entrepreneurs from the Miami community provide mentorship to each team. Teams meet with their mentors on a weekly basis to discuss the strategies and skills needed to advance each team’s vision. Those who successfully complete the program are given the opportunity to pitch their startups to potential investors in week 14.

Panther Alumni Recruitment Team (PART) seeking new volunteers

The Chaplin School is looking for alumni to join the FIU Panther Alumni Recruitment Team. The program involves alumni volunteers in all phases of student recruitment, beginning with identifying prospective students and seeing them through to enrollment.  Volunteers may commit as little as 15-20 minutes of their time to certain initiatives, such as writing congratulatory notes to admitted students.  More substantial time commitments are also available, including representing FIU at events in your local area including college fairs or attending new student send-off events in strategic areas. Chaplin alumni interested in participating  should contact Dawn Fagnan at

Dean Mike Hampton to speak at Food & Ag Council’s #AGis Town Hall

The STEM Food & Ag Council will hold a Town Hall event at The George Washington University in Washington, DC, on Thursday, April 27 and Friday, April 28. The event will highlight the broad range of high-tech career paths available through a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) career in food and agriculture. Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management dean, Dr. Mike Hampton, will participate in a panel discussion about the impact of public/private partnerships on STEM engagement. Other speakers include Dr. Celeste Clark, Former SVP, Chief Sustainability Officer, Kellogg Company; Michael D’Ambrose, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Archer Daniels Midland Company; Dr. Robb Fraley, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Monsanto; Chantel Simpson, Fellow at STEMconnector and PhD Student at Virginia Tech and Sarah Schellpeper, Career Foundations Program – Operations Trainee at Smithfield Foods. Registrants can attend the in-person event in DC, or participate via the Facebook Live event. Registration available at    

Professor John Thomas joins panel of experts to discuss new research on the future of Tourism in Cuba

Watch the full panel discussion at By ASHLYN TOLEDO The Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management partnered with the Brookings Institution and the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center’s Cuban Research Institute to launch a new report on the future of the tourism industry in Cuba titled “Tourism in Cuba: Riding the Wave Toward Sustainable Prosperity.” At the launch event, which took place at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus on Thursday, January 19, a panel of experts including co-authors Richard Feinberg and Richard Newfarmer, as well well Professor Jorge Duany, Director of the Cuban Research Institute, Professor Maria Espino from St. Thomas University and Professor John Thomas of the Chaplin School, discussed the findings in the report and delved deeper into some of the questions and uncertainties surrounding the Cuban government and its ability to participate in the global economy. According to Feinberg and Newfarmer’s findings, Cuba will continue to see dramatic growth in demand within the tourism industry, spurred by significantly relaxed restrictions on U.S. travel to the island and a shifting global perception. In order to facilitate healthy and sustainable growth, the authors outlined several policy recommendations for both the Cuban and U.S. governments. However, because of Cuba’s complex international relationships and lack of government transparency, many of the panelists questioned the reliability of travel and economic data coming from the Cuban government. “The Cuban government is not very open with this information, particularly since much of the Cuban tourism industry is actually run by the military,” said Thomas. “So it’s very difficult for economists to make an accurate evaluation of either existing resources, or what the potential is for future tourism.” Nevertheless, Thomas, along with the other panelists, agreed with [...]

StartUP FIU launches food business incubator

StartUP FIU, the university-wide initiative in innovation and entrepreneurship at FIU, has announced the opening of its second program: StartUP FIU FOOD. In cooperation with the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Biscayne Bay Campus and with a grant from Citi Foundation, StartUP FIU FOOD helps food entrepreneurs within the community to grow their businesses. The program leverages the scarce resource of a large commercial kitchen and also provides formal programming, workshops for skills development, food science training, mentors and access to financing. Recent studies by groups such as Endeavor, the international entrepreneurship network, show that 90 percent of new food entrepreneurs fail within five years. The statistic is particularly alarming when one considers the large number of minority-owned food businesses that South Florida attracts. In addition to its programming in entrepreneurship, StartUP FIU FOOD helps business owners to incorporate, generate financial statements and apply for micro-finance loans and traditional commercial bank loans. Access to traditional commercial bank loans also opens the door for local food entrepreneurs to address another big issue. According to Emily Gresham, cofounder of StartUP FIU and an assistant vice president in FIU’s Office of Research and Economic Development, “The prosperity gap is widening, where the chasm between the rich and the poor is among the nation’s biggest.” “We know that talent is equally dispersed and opportunity is not,” she continues. “There is an unmet need in Miami for not only affordable commercial kitchen space, but also for startup incubator services, business advising and entrepreneurial networking. Sometimes we have to create opportunity.” Anna Etienne, the director of StartUP FIU FOOD, leads day-to-day activities and a focused program for community outreach to address the wealth disparity. She and her team will [...]

The Janine Ella Ackerman Scholarship Fund

Janine Ackerman died tragically on April 8, 2017, in a shooting incident at the Coral Gables Equinox gym, where she worked as a general manager. Janine received her Master's degree in 2008 from Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, where she also was President of the Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Honor Society. At FIU, she was selected as a student leader at the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival and was a stellar student who was loved by many students, staff and faculty.  Janine had a beautiful smile that would permeate those in her company, and a great sense of humor.  She was a vibrant, intelligent, determined young woman with an enthusiastic personality. As a professional, she was a hard worker, leader, mentor and role model for others. Janine created a legacy that will not be forgotten by those whose lives she touched. The Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management established a scholarship fund in Janine's honor. These funds will be used to give financial assistance to students pursuing a degree in hospitality management from the Chaplin School. To donate to the fund, visit The Chaplin School’s FIU Foundation page and select the Janine Ackerman Scholarship Fund from the designation dropdown.

Quirch Foods names facility at Chaplin School, establishes first-generation scholarship

Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and Quirch Foods, a wholesale food distributor with distribution centers in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Quirch Foods Hub, a newly branded space within the school’s food production laboratories. Quirch Foods also established the Quirch Foods First-Generation Scholarship to support undergraduate students at the Chaplin School who demonstrate exceptional academic merit and passion for the food and beverage industry. The strategic partnership between FIU and Quirch Foods also will provide students with opportunities to work on innovative projects with Quirch Foods and participate in management-level internship and mentoring programs.

Memorandum of Understanding: University of Malta and Florida International University

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the University of Malta and Florida International University on Wednesday 29 March at 11:50 at the Office of the Rector, University of Malta, Msida. The MoU was signed by Professor Alfred J. Vella, Rector, University of Malta, and Dr Terry Lease, Associate Dean, Florida International University. Present for the signing were Professor Godfrey Baldacchino, UM Pro-Rector, International Development & Quality Assurance, Professor Andrew Jones, UM Director, Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture, Dr Mary Tanke, FIU, Mr Terrence Flynn, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., US Embassy Malta, Dr Susan Ross, Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy Malta, Ms Stefania Agius Fabri, Director, UM International Office and Ms Anna Callus, Deputy Director, UM International Office. The intention behind the Memorandum of Understanding is to cement current collaboration between both institutions namely in the field of Tourism Studies with the intention of developing an online Dual Master Degree in the field of Tourism and Hospitality Studies, intended for local and international professionals in the field. Throughout their visit at the University of Malta, FIU representatives met with various UM officials to further familiarise themselves and explore further collaborative opportunities between both institutions. The dual-degree programme is designed to accelerate the career progression of hospitality company managers and entrepreneurs with at least five years of industry experience. The programme will allow students to upgrade their knowledge of the global hospitality industry and enhance their critical thinking, problem solving, and analytical skills, while continuing to work full-time in their current positions. The programme has an international focus from the unique perspectives of the crossroad locations of Malta and Miami. Read the original story at Photo Caption from left: standing: Andrew Jones (UM), Godfrey Baldacchino (UM), [...]

American Fine Wine establishes The Chip Cassidy Endowment Fund

The American Fine Wine Competition, with the support and encouragement of FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, is establishing the Chip Cassidy Endowment Fund in recognition of his dedication to FIU’s students and alumni, as well as his invaluable contributions to the wine industry. The fund will support scholarships for FIU students with a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in and furthering the wine industry, as well as establish a wine library within the school in Chip’s honor to house his collection of books. The American Fine Wine Competition aims to raise a minimum of $25,000 for the fund in order to establish an endowment and preserve Chip’s legacy in perpetuity. Want to make a donation? Be sure to select 'The "Chip" Cassidy Endowment Fund' from the Designation dropdown. Photo Caption (left to right): Chip Cassidy, Dean Mike Hampton, Shari Gherman, Wayne Chaplin.

Chad Moss makes largest donation to FIU by an alumnus

Chad Moss, executive vice president of Moss & Associates, announced a $10 million gift to FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing – the largest donation by an alumnus to date. “Chad Moss has shown incredible vision and entrepreneurship in Miami and across the country,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “This generous and history-making donation will help us educate a new generation of construction professionals who will have an impact on our community and beyond.” In recognition of his gift, announced at Saturday’s Torch Awards Gala, FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing will name the school as the Moss School of Construction, Infrastructure and Sustainability. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban environments, the school’s naming coincides with the academic reorganization of the school, reflecting a broader view of the industry and new approaches and methods for building sustainable urban infrastructure. “I believe in the power of giving,” said Moss, who graduated from FIU in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in construction management. “I hope this gift leads to generations of students who are curious, passionate about learning, and equipped to provide innovative solutions to the industry challenges of the future.” At the Torch Awards, FIU honored Moss, whose company is an industry leader across all areas of construction management, as Alumnus of the Year. “We are inspired by how Mr. Moss’ dedication and talent elevate our university’s mission of service. We know that FIU alumni will continue to follow in Chad’s footsteps,” said George Corton, FIU’s associate vice president of development. Through the gift, FIU and Moss will create three endowments: Earnings from the Moss Endowed Chair in Construction Management will be used to recruit a nationally [...]