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.

Professor Michael E. Hurst

“As a renowned restaurateur, industry leader and popular educator, Mike understood the importance and tremendous value of exposing students – our future industry leaders – to the industry leaders of today.” – Anthony G. Marshall




Larry Harris is a freelance consultant to entrepreneurial concerns. His areas of specialty include strategic planning, organizational development, real estate, finance and environmental strategy.

Mr. Harris co‐founded Pollo Tropical restaurants in Miami, Florida, in 1988. Under his leadership as CEO and Chairman of the Board, the company grew from a single restaurant to a multi-million dollar 50-unit public company. Mr. Harris left the company when it was sold in 1998.

Mr. Harris developed and operated Salero and Mosaico restaurants in Miami, Florida, from 2002 to 2006.  Mosaico was an award-winning critically acclaimed fine dining restaurant featuring creative Spanish cuisine.

Mr. Harris is an active partner in Madruga Bakery, a bakery cafe in Coral Gables. His daughter Naomi Harris, a James Beard nominee for Best Baker 2019, founded Madruga Bakery in 2017.

Mr. Harris is a managing partner in several distressed debt investment funds that focus on commercial real estate throughout the United States.

Mr. Harris was inducted into the Florida International University Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2006.  He has received numerous awards, including the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the State of Florida in 1996, and he accepted, on behalf of Pollo Tropical, the inaugural Miami‐Dade County Chamber of Commerce Cutting Edge Award.

Mr. Harris received a Bachelor of Science from Florida International University, School of Hospitality Management, in 1981. He is a lifelong resident of Miami, and he and his wife Molly have three grown children.

LOCATION: Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Lab, HM 129


Larry J. Harris


  • Mike Leven, Chairman & CEO, Georgia Aquarium


  • Michelle Bernstein, Chef/Owner, Michy’s and Senora Martinez
  • Robert Werk ’87, COO Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group


  • Robert S. Wasserman, Executive Vice President, Operations of Sales and Marketing of Rewards Network Establishment Services, Inc
  • Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels and Co-Chairmen of the Board and Member of the Office of the President, Loews Corporation


  • Moriah Murphy, Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder, 1812 South, Inc
  • George Cohon, Founder and Senior-Chairman of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and McDonald’s Russia


  • Bob Diener, Co-Founder of
  • Susan Salazar, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotel


  • Michael Bailey, Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations, Royal Caribbean International
  • Valerie C. Ferguson, Regional Vice President and Managing Director, Loews Philadelphia Hotel


  • Nick Vojnovic, President, Family Sport’s Concepts, Inc. Chairman, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
  • T. Kuhlman, BS ’74, President, One & Only Resorts
  • Craig M. Nash, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Interval International


  • Eric Pfeffer, BS ‘77, Founder and President, The Pfeffer Group, LLC Former Chairman, Cendant’s Hotel Division
  • Ron Yariv, BS ’84, Managing Director, International Sales, Hilton Hotels Corporation


  • John H. Dasburg, Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Owner, Astar Air Cargo, Inc. Vice Chairman, Board of Governors, Florida University System
  • Philip S. Goldfarb, BS ’79, President and Chief Operating Officer, Turnberry Associates
  • Burt Cabanas, BS ’76, Chairman and Executive Officer, Benchmark Hospitality International


  • Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman and CEO, Loews Hotels and Office of the President, Loews Corporation
  • William M. Wagner, CCM, General Manager, Riveria Country Club, Coral Gables, FL President-Elect (2005), Club Managers Association of America
  • Lawrence A. Duprey, Executive Chairman, CL Financial Limited, Trinidad & Tobago Chairman CL World Brands; Executive Chairman, The House of Angostura


  • Tripp Transou & Susan Busch-Transou, Co-Owners, Tri-Eagle Sales, Anheuser-Busch Distributor, Tallahassee, FL
  • Regynald Washington, BS ’74, Vice President and General Manager, Disney Regional Entertainment, and Vice President, New Business Initiatives, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts


  • Donohue Peebles, Founder, President & CEO, Peebles Atlantic Development Corporation


  • Stuart L. Blumberg, President & CEO, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association
  • Bill McCreary, President, Tishman Hotel Corporation
  • Bob Dickinson, President & CEO, Carnival Cruise Lines


  • Wolf H. Hengst, President, Worldwide Hotel Services, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
  • Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Founder and Chairman, Sandals and Beaches Resorts, Chairman, Air Jamaica


  • Stephen Muss, Owner, Fontainebleau Hilton, Miami Beach, Florida
  • Lee Brian Schrager, Director of Special Events & Media Relations, Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida
  • James A. Wolpert, Chair, Department of Viticulture & Enology, University of California, Davis


  • W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Marriott International, Inc.
  • Adam M. Goldstein, Senior Vice President, Royal Caribbean International
  • Fredrick H. “Rick” Barger ’95, Vice President, Pal’s Restaurant Group


  • Bob Leonard, President & COO, FMS Management Systems, Inc.
  • Joseph P. Micatrotto, Chairman, CEO & President, BUCA, Inc.
  • Donald E. Lefton, Founder, Principal & Vice Chairman, The Continental Companies, Carnival Resorts and Casinos


  • John Russell, Chairman, American Hotel & Motel Association, Washington, D.C.
  • John Folse, Chef/ Owner, Lafitte’s Landing, Donaldsonville, Louisiana
  • Bernadette Dennis, Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Asia, Marriott International, Hong Kong, China
  • Louis Philippe, BS ’87, General Manager, Hotel Inter-Continental, Miami Airport
  • Steven Hoodack, BS ’92, Sales Manager, The Waldorf Astoria, New York
  • Suzanne Goodman. BS ’97. Event Manager. Miami Beach Convention


  • Beirne Brown, Restaurant Developer, Owner & Operator, Educator & Consultant, Naples, Florida
  • Ronald Magruder, President & CEO, HOPS Restaurant, Bar and Brewery, Tampa, Florida
  • Cheri Rutledge, BS ’79, General Manager, Tampa Marriott Westshore, Tampa, Florida
  • William Begley, BS ’80, President & CEO, Featherstone Hotels, Washington, D.C.
  • Robert Lugo, BS ’83, Regional Director, Food & Beverage Services Executive Dining, Northern Trust Bank, Miami, Florida
  • Marlene DeQuesada, BS ’99, Manager, Houston’s Restaurant, Aventura, Florida


  • Jonathan M. Tisch, President & CEO, Loews Hotels, New York, New York
  • Joe R. Lee, Chairman & CEO, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Red Lobster, The Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Orlando, Florida
  • Lee Cockerell, Executive Vice President Operations, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • Edward J. Kraus, MS ’81, Executive Vice President, North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, Chicago, Illinois
  • Sabina Tonarelli-Frey, BS ’89, Director of Human Resources, Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida
  • Eric R. Dreschor, BS ’93, General Manager, Rio Bravo Restaurant, Founder,, Restaurant jobs on line, Detroit, Michigan


  • Dennis A. Marzella, Senior Vice President of Research & Strategic Marketing, Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown, Orlando, Florida
  • Ronald N. Paul, President & CEO, Technomic, Inc., Market Research & Consulting, Chicago, Illinois
  • Robert H. Dedman, Founder & Chairman of the Board, Club Corp, Inc., Dallas, Texas
  • Dominique Fombrun Carvonis, BS ’77, Owner-Manager, Moulin Sur Med Beach Hotel, Montrouis, Haiti
  • Atesh Chandra, MS ’81, Vice President Administration, Flagler System, Inc., Operator ofThe Breakers , Palm Beach, Florida
  • Frank Van Der Post, BS/MS ’84, General Manager, Hotel Inter­Continental, Miami, Florida
  • David E. Goldstein, BS ’85, Director of Operations, Chevys Fresh Mex, Boca Raton, Florida


  • Paul Prudhomme, Chef-Owner, K-Paul’s Kirchen, New Orleans, Louisiana, Award winning chef, author, educator
  • Steve Schussler, Creator, Rainforest Cafe, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Michael Sansbury, Regional Vice President, Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando
  • Barbara Sartini, BS ’77, President, Dulin Foodservice, Inc., Foodservice Brokerage Company, Hollywood, Florida
  • Don Walsh, BS ’91, Senior Director, Creative Food Solutions, New York, New York
  • Kim Smith, BS ’93, Executive Housekeeper, Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Resort, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida


  • Valerie C. Ferguson, Chairman, American Hotel & Morel Association and Regional Vice President & Managing Director, Loews Philadelphia Hotel
  • Michael S. Kaufman, President, Metromedia Restaurant Group, Bennigans, Steak & Ale, Ponderosa and Bonanza Steak Houses, Dallas, Texas
  • Mark Thomas, BS ’74, President, M.D.T LTD., Restaurant and Foodservice Consultant, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Mark Hoffman, BS ’79, General Manager, Marriott’s Harbor Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Dawn O’Flannery Walzak, BS ’86, Director, Tishman Hotel Corporation, Orlando, Florida


  • Jay Litt, BS ’73, Senior Vice President, Operations, Interstate Hotels Corporation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Charles Foster, Senior Vice President, International Development, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, Dallas, Texas
  • Joseph P. Micatrotto, President & CEO, Buca Di Beppo, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Iva Dahl-Brown, BS ’78, Executive Director, Bahamas Hotel Training College
  • Paul Breslin, BS ’83, Resident Manager, The Atlanta Hilton & Towers
  • Gonzalo de Varona, BS ’85, Vice President International Marketing, Trump Taj Mahal Casino & Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Michelle Pierce, BS ’97, Front Desk Operations, Four Seasons Resort, Palm Beach, Florida


  • Humberto “Burt” Cabanas, BS ’76, President & CEO, Benchmark Hospitality, Woodlands, Texas
  • Richard “Dick” Rivera, President & CEO, Chart House Restaurants, Solana Beach, California
  • Graham Kerr, Television Chef, Author, Educator, “The Galloping Gourmet”
  • John Ruzik, MS ’78, Owner, Quality Suites, Tampa, Florida
  • Tyrone Nabbie, BS ’84, Owner, Contract Foodservice Company, Orlando, Florida
  • Lani Kane-Hanan, BS ’87, Consultant, Arthur Anderson, Miami, Florida


  • T. Kuhlman, BS ’75, COO, Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts, London, United Kingdom
  • Norman Brinker, Chairman Brinker International, Chilis, Macaroni Grill, South of the Border, Dallas, Texas
  • Herman Cain, President & CEO, National Restaurant Association and Chairman, Godfather’s Pizza, Inc.
  • Brendan Foulkes, BS ’78, Vice President Operations, Island Outpost, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Douglas P. Fisher, MS ’84, Certified Management Consultant, President FHG International, Toronto, Canada
  • John Allan, BS ’91, Vice President Operations, Don Shula’s Steakhouses, Miami, Florida


  • Robert Foley, President & CEO, The Educational Institute, American Hotel & Morel Association
  • John R. Farquharson, FMP, Executive Emeritus, ARAMARK Corporation
  • Don Smith, Restaurateur, CEO and Hospitality Educator
  • Allen Susser, BS ’78, Chef-Proprietor, Chef Allen’s Restaurant, Miami, Florida
  • Joseph G. DiSalvo, BS ’87, Owner, DiSalvo’s Station Restaurant, Latrobe, Pennsylvania
  • Peggy Benua, MS ’89, Hotel Manager, Le Meridien Hotel, Dallas, Texas


  • Noel C. Cullen, Master Chef, President Designate, American Culinary Federation
  • Joe R. Lee, Chairman & CEO, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Red Lobster, Olive Garden, China Coast, Orlando, Florida
  • Ralph O. Brennan, The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Kenneth F. Hine, CAE, President & CEO, American Hotel & Morel Association
  • Clive Chu, Hotel Consultant, Former President, Pier 66, Fr. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Juan Romero, Cluster General Manager, Marriott Hotels, Miami, Florida