Letter from the Dean – Real Estate Edition

April 2022

Even if you don’t speak French, you know the phrase, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

As we have been celebrating our school’s 40th anniversary over this academic year, the notion of change has come up quite a bit in how we think about and teach Hospitality. Back when our school was founded in 1981 as part of the Metropolitan College, the program was squeezed into a few rooms of a converted Cadillac showroom at 808 Commonwealth Avenue. Twenty students graduated from the inaugural class. Today, we are proud to count more than 3000 alums around the world.

Having a stake in the ground infuses an idea with a greater sense of place and purpose. This point resonates even more since this special edition of Boston Hospitality Review on Real Estate, edited by SHA’s Director of the Real Estate program, Kaushik Vardharajan.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the original change-makers who were vitally impactful in the physical and symbolic “building” of our school. Denise Dupré, a director of what was the “Hotel and Food Administration Program” in the school’s early years (and a recent guest in our Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which you can watch here), advocated for the program to be an independent school within Boston University. 

We also dedicate this issue in tribute to the late James Stamas, the third leader of the school and the first with the title, “Dean,” who passed away recently. It is Stamas’s successful fundraising efforts that led to the School of Hospitality Administration’s move to its current building at 928 Commonwealth Avenue. His legacy lives on in many ways and, most especially, in the daily presence of students studying and socializing in the Stamas Lounge named in his honor.

This edition of BHR on Real Estate reminds us that we have come a long way since “Hotel” was the centerpiece of our school’s name and focus. Over the last few years, the scope of Hospitality has evolved significantly to encompass many areas in addition to Real Estate, such as Senior Living, Digital Marketing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Revenue Management and Analytics among others.

Beyond all these subject matters of our time, Hospitality is ubiquitous and timeless. It plays a role in every interpersonal interaction, including “IRL” and with our avatars in VR. A sense of place and the need to connect with one another to create meaningful experiences in the world(s), real and imagined, gravitates us, now and into millennia.

Things change, and they stay the same! 


Eternally yours in hospitality,

Dean Arun Upneja

Arun Upneja, Ph.D.

Dean of Boston University School of Hospitality Administration


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