In 1972, PONG became the first commercially successful video game; the cable channel Home Box Office or HBO made its debut; and Trekkies signed the "live long and prosper" Vulcan salute at the first Star Trek fan convention in New York City. 1972 was also the year that FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, then known as the School of Hotel, Food & Travel Services, got its start.
This Friday, May 13, from 6 to 9 p.m., the school will commemorate its 50th anniversary at the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and everyone is invited to the party.
"Hospitality is one of the world's largest industries, which has gone through so much over the past three years," said Michael Cheng, dean of the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. "Now it's time to celebrate the accomplishments and legacy of our school, students, faculty and industry with a party where it all began," he added.
The school's first commencement of a little more than a dozen students took place at the Fontainebleau's Fontaine/Fleur de Lis Ballroom. The 50th-anniversary cocktail party is scheduled to take place in the same room.
The celebration will include experiential activations such as the student-run club, the FIU Bartender's Guild mixing their award-winning cocktails, along with Cecilia, the robot bartender powered by Artificial Intelligence. There will be an interactive video series, a 3-D map illuminating alumni around the world, and a look back at how the school began. Alumni-owned business owners, including Bill Hansen, Alex Kuk, Diego Ng, Matt Kuscher, Robert Egert, Shaneil Sibblies and Stefania Rivero, will showcase their delicious dishes and host a one-of-a-kind beer tasting.
"We have so much to be thankful for," said Rocco Angelo, associate dean of alumni relations at the Chaplin School. At 90, he has been at the school since the beginning and has seen the school's legacy expand.
Today, the Chaplin School, located on FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus, is the largest hospitality school in the country and is ranked the 8th best U.S. hospitality program by QS World Rankings 2022. The school hosts the university's only student-run restaurant, the FIU Bistro in the Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory, the FIU Bacardi Center of Excellence classroom, FIU's largest international program the Marriott Tianjin China program, and 1,200 FIU students help run the South Beach Wine & Food Festival®, the largest wine and food festival in the world, which benefits the school.
The 50th-anniversary cocktail reception is a culmination of 50 years of legacy. All FIU alumni, faculty, staff and donors are invited to celebrate with one complimentary admission ticket using the code FIUFAM. Additional tickets are half off with the code PAWSUP. To RSVP or for additional details, visit https://go.fiu.edu/50Chaplin.
"We survived and thrived after a worldwide pandemic. That alone is cause for celebration. We want the world to know that we are 50 years young and that our legacy in hospitality is undeniable, and we are here to stay," Cheng said.