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Harrill named acting director of School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

Jun 11, 2012

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COLUMBIA, SC - June 12, 2012 - Tourism expert Rich Harrill is the new acting director of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina.

Harrill is also director of both the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel and Tourism Industry Center and the International Tourism Research Institute.

As institute director, Harrill has vastly increased the global reputation of USC in China by building strong international ties that have led to research and exchange agreements with top Chinese universities, including Peking University, Fudan University, Nanjing University, Nankai University and Shandong University, along with the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao.

“It’s an honor to be named acting director of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management. I’m from a fantastic little town called Gaffney, S.C., in Cherokee County. That’s given me the background and experience to understand the challenges faced in today's rural economies. I look forward to developing an economic vision that will create a more prosperous economy for the state,” Harrill said.

Harrill’s course instruction focuses on sustainable tourism planning and policy, destination marketing and management, community tourism development, international and national resort development and environmental planning.

Harrill’s industry-driven business model and academic entrepreneurship has garnered more than $1.2 million in external funding for research, including grants from more than 30 different government, business and industry clients and collaborative work with national organizations such as the U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Prior to arriving at USC, Harrill served as a senior business associate with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, one of the nation’s most comprehensive university-based programs for business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development.

In support of South Carolina’s tourism efforts, Harrill has provided strategic tourism plans for Kershaw County and the state’s rural, five-county Salkehatchie region, an effort that explored hunting, nature-based, and ecotourism development opportunities. Most recently, he completed a development and economic impact study for the 14 counties of the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor.

 “Dr. Harrill brings a distinguished set of teaching, research and outreach skills to the acting director position in our School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management,” said Brian Mihalik dean of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management (HRSM). “His expertise and leadership within the field of hospitality coupled with his knowledge of the state of South Carolina will provide an extraordinarily strong vision to ensure the continued success for what has become one of the top hospitality programs in the country.”

Harrill earned his Ph.D. in parks, recreation, and tourism management and his master’s degree in city and regional planning from Clemson University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Charleston.

Harrill succeeds Sandy Strick, who served as the school’s interim director since 2010.

Video: Dr. Rich Harrill discusses his South Carolina roots and his appointment as the new acting director of USC’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management: http://ow.ly/bltA0

RELATED LINKS:
Rich Harrill’s bio
Tourism Innovation, Creativity, and Growth: Advancing South Carolina’s New Economic Development
School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina

About The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management is located with the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management. The school is ranked in the top 10 nationally and has more than 600 enrolled students annually. Hospitality and tourism is a $14 billion industry for South Carolina. The College of HRSM prepares individuals to lead this industry locally and beyond. For more information, call 803-777-6491 or visit www.HRSM.sc.edu.