The Restaurant, Hotel, and Meetings Management Program at The University of Alabama was established in 1985 as part of the Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management, in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. More than 600 students have graduated from the program and are employed in a variety of hospitality management positions throughout the United States. There are over 400 students currently enrolled in the program.
This semester's speaker for the Shila Bowron/Red Diamond Leadership Lecture was Mr. Paul van Leeuween. Mr. van Leeuwen is a senior hospitality executive with over 30 years of experience. He spent close to 20 years with the Walt Disney Company leading Business Planning and Development teams throughout the world. As an executive and former vice president at the Walt Disney Company, Mr van Leeuwen was instrumental in seeing Walt Disney World Paris from conception through construction to opening. More recently he has led a private equity fund and served as President for a $100 million integrated hospitality company.
He shared the challenges he faced and the experience he gained from his time at the Walt Disney Company with our RHM students during the course of two lectures on Thursday, November 10, 2016. The RHM faculty hosted a dinner for Mr. van Leeuwen and his family at a local restaurant owned by an alumnus of the RHM program. Lunch the following day was enjoyed at The University Club, which is managed by the College of Human Environmental Sciences' Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management.