Hospitality Dean to Retire
James Stamas’ BU career defined by expansion and links to hospitality industry
James Stamas meant to retire more than a decade ago.
After a long and successful career with two major hotel chains, Stamas left his position as senior vice president with Omni Hotels to become an industry consultant. Then BU’s School of Hospitality Administration — at the time a subsidiary program in Metropolitan College — came calling, asking him to chair the advisory board and then in 1995, to become the school’s first dean.
He agreed, with three goals in mind: increase the number of students, make SHA its own school, and build a new facility.
“I told them I’d be here for three years,” Stamas jokes. “I guess, in my arrogance, I thought I could get everything done.”
The timeline extended, but Stamas, who announced his retirement September 3, has checked everything off his list. The student population has doubled to more than 400, SHA is now one of BU’s independent schools and colleges, and a new classroom and office building for the school opened in 2006. In addition, he’s used his industry knowledge and connections to develop a curriculum that adjusts to industry needs and offers students work experience as soon as they arrive.
“I feel good about where the school is, and I feel good about what we’ve accomplished,” says Stamas, who will leave BU on August 31, 2010. “And I think a new pair of eyes will take it to the next level.”
The SHA building at 928 Commonwealth Ave. is the most visible accomplishment of Stamas’ tenure, a 27,000-square-foot classroom building that features a library, auditorium, career services office, and computer center, designed to present a professional façade to hospitality professionals who work and recruit at the school. But Stamas’ impact goes far beyond brick and mortar, says Provost David Campbell.
“As the founding dean of the independent School of Hospitality Administration, Jim has set a standard for excellence in leadership that will challenge his successor,” Campbell says. “His work on the curriculum, building a strong external advisory committee, expanding opportunities for internships, and creating a responsive and effective career services center will benefit students for years to come.”
Stamas says that establishing a broad and relevant curriculum and exploring ways to use Boston’s hospitality resources were challenges he set for the school’s leadership when he joined the advisory board. “I’m not an academic,” he says, “but this school is so connected to industry, I think my background really helped in the context of bringing the industry into our school.”
The school’s advisory board, which includes senior management from the Hyatt and Starwood hotel chains, Marriott International, and Boston’s Four Seasons hotel, helps raise funds for facility renovations, lure accomplished faculty to SHA, and provide guidance and networking opportunities.
“Under Dean Stamas, the School of Hospitality Administration has grown in stature nationally and internationally,” says President Robert A. Brown. “The school’s achievements have been possible because of Jim’s leadership in every facet of the program, including his involvement with alumni and industry leaders in designing an education for leaders in the hospitality industry.”
“We want our students to be the best prepared,” Stamas says, “so we ask, what should we be offering, and what should we eliminate?” In the past year and a half, new course work on revenue management, event management, and asset management have been added.
The decision to leave BU now was difficult, Stamas says, particularly because he and so many of his colleagues have been together for decades. But he emphasizes that in the year before he steps down, he’ll be working hard and will leave the program in good stead.
“I would never leave a job that wasn’t at a point where I could feel good about leaving it in someone else’s hands,” he says.
Jessica Ullian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments