Penn State to honor 10 hospitality management alumni

October 11, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society (PSHRS) and Penn State School of Hospitality Management will honor 10 alumni during the 2021 Alumni Awards Reception in conjunction with the school’s 16th annual Alumni in the Classroom event on Oct. 13.

This year’s award ceremony will take place on the University Park campus in the Marriott Foundation Building, the school’s Collaboratory for Inclusion and Innovation.

"This has been a unique year and our alumni have proven to be resilient and innovative through the challenges the hospitality industry faced as a result of the pandemic," said Donna Quadri-Felitti, Marvin Ashner Endowed Director of the School of Hospitality Management. "Our alumni award recipients are great examples of success and showcase a variety of career paths our students can pursue with a hospitality management degree. We are excited to welcome them back and gather with more than 100 alumni to celebrate our honorees and participate in our annual Alumni in the Classroom program."

This year’s PSHRS Alumni Award recipients are:

Alumni of the Year

Ken Young, class of 1972, executive chairman, Spectra Food Services and Hospitality

Alumni Industry Achievement

Joe Bocherer, class of 1996, chief commercial officer, George World Congress Center

Jill Ferguson, class of 1998, associate vice president - conference and registration, Mortgage Bankers Association

Dan Stone, class of 1999, chief operating and development officer, Front Burner Brands

Emerging Professionals — Graduates

Alei Fan, Ph.D., 2016 graduate, assistant professor, School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Purdue University

Emerging Professionals — Undergraduates

Aidan Aktouf, class of 2012, area manager, Expedia Group

Dan Palella, class of 2012, director of national marketing, Aria Casino and Resort (MGM Resorts)

Jose Preza, class of 2014, university recruiting technology and operations lead, Danaher Corp.

Megan Taylor, class of 2013, general manager, The Kinney San Luis Obispo (Pacifica Hotels), Tapestry Collection by Hilton

MJ Worsham, class of 2011, director of restaurant technology, Five Guys Enterprises

Click here to learn more about the award recipients.

About the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society

The Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society was founded to strengthen all hospitality professions and enhance the reputation of the Hospitality Management program (HM). PSHRS is an Affiliate Program Group of the Penn State Alumni Association and the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society.

PSHRS provides a means for achieving closer fellowship among alumni, faculty and students. PSHRS serves those who are currently attending Penn State in HM or who are graduates of the program, as well as those who work within the HM industries and have attended Penn State or are "friends" of the program.

About the School of Hospitality Management

Established in 1937, Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected schools of hospitality management. Its top-ranked undergraduate and doctoral programs prepare global leaders with a rigorous, diverse curriculum focused, since its inception, on engaged scholarship, featuring partnerships with Penn State's Hospitality Services, Housing and Food Services, and top global hospitality brands. It’s also home to the oldest Penn State alumni program group, the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society.

For more information about the school, contact Brian Black, director of hospitality industry relations, at or 814-865-1853.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 11, 2021