Professor Mike Hurst was a founding faculty member of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Before his retirement at the end of the spring 1999 semester, 27 years after he gave his fist lecture, this distinguished restaurateur, industry leader, and popular educator had taught more than 6,000 FIU students.
His rare and remarkable leadership extended beyond the FIU classrooms. He was the owner and operator of the award-winning restaurant, 15th Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale, Director and Past President of the National Restaurant Association, Chairman of the NRA Educational Foundation, and an internationally known speaker for the hospitality industry. He was best known as a tireless crusader, always working to create and strengthen educational opportunities in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
In 1996, combining his business acumen and a vision for sharing industry leaders’ successes with future industry leaders at the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Mike created the Distinguished Hospitality Leaders Lecture Series. Since the series inception, Mike personally invited and brought to FIU 65 distinguished hospitality executives, including graduates of the School. Hospitality luminaries such as Chefs Paul Prudhomme, Graham Kerr, and John Folse; hotel executives Jonathan Tisch, John Russell, and Valerie Ferguson; and restaurateurs Norman Brinker, Herman Cain, Ralph Brennan, and Michael Kaufman have been among those who have come to share their professional journeys with FIU students.
As a tribute to Professor Hurst, this endowed lecture series, named in his honor, continues to provide an occasion to create a bridge between the school and the hospitality industry.