Hotel & Restaurant Society Alumnus of the Year advises students on career paths

October 14, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For Bill Kohl, who graduated from Penn State in 1985 with a degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management, returning to the University to speak to undergraduate students in the School of Hospitality Management (SHM) is an important opportunity.

“All of us have had mentors in our career, people who helped us be successful, and there is a strong sense that you want to give back to the industry and the school,” Kohl said.

Kohl is a principal of Greenwood Hospitality, an independent hotel management company, which manages 14 properties with six under development. He gives back to Penn State students by participating in the annual SHM Alumni in the Classroom event.

This year, Kohl also received the honor of Alumni of the Year on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society Alumni Awards Reception, a ceremony held in conjunction with SHM’s 10th annual Alumni in the Classroom event.

Kohl oversees the strategic and operational direction of Greenwood’s portfolio of hotels, including food and beverage initiatives. He directs the company’s activities in restaurant development, concept design, and re-positioning. Kohl also serves on the board of directors for both the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Kohl is founder of Très Bonne Année, a series of events and international wine auction, which raises more than $400,000 annually for the arts in central Pennsylvania.

As part of the Alumni in the Classroom event, Kohl spoke to students on Oct. 7 enrolled in Legal Aspects of Hospitality Industry, HM 355.

“I’m passionate about the industry. I’m passionate about Penn State,” Kohl told students. “All of us (alumni) have had mentors and leaders who we have benefited from. We feel it is incumbent upon us to give back, to provide that service back to emerging professionals.”

Fellow alumni Daniel Entenberg, a 2001 graduate and general manager at Gramercy Park Hotel, and Marc Goldberg, a 1984 graduate and managing director of JBH Advisory Group, spoke to the same class. Each shared their legal-related experiences in the industry, from proposed legislation to collective bargaining.

“I hope students take away an understanding of what it takes to be successful in the industry,” Kohl said after the class. “Hopefully, it hones their impressions of the industry so they know what they are getting into and how they can apply what they’re learning here to what their job will be in the future.”

Additionally, students view the Alumni in the Classroom event as an opportunity to enhance their educational experience.

“It’s an eye-opening experience to hear what the industry is looking for and hear what experiences alumni have had,” said student Jessica Abert. “We’re learning about issues that you don’t learn in class.”

Student Caroline Kunisky said, “It’s inspiring because it shows us what we are going to be dealing with day-to-day in our careers.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 14, 2015