Hospitality alums share career insights

Disney hotels

What’s one of the perks of studying in Mercyhurst University’s world-class hospitality management program? Getting the opportunity to sit in on a lecture by a high-profile alumnus in charge of marketing for a Disney hotel, of course.

Students in professor Dave Scypinski’s Convention and Tradeshow Management course will meet Eric Opron ’87, director of sales and marketing for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, on April 16.

“The training and education I received from Mercyhurst has allowed me to get to this point in my career,” said Opron. “The opportunity to speak to the next generation of hospitality management students is an honor. The students’ exposure to industry professionals is really a testament to the kind of program that Mercyhurst has always run.”

Topics Opron will discuss include strategies for attracting customers to a resort property, convention setup, and meeting the needs of different groups, such as tourists, businessmen and organizations.

“By bringing in successful industry professionals like Eric, not only do our students receive real-world insight, but it also gives them networking opportunities,” said Daryl Georger, assistant professor of hospitality management, who recently traveled with eight hospitality majors to the Professional Convention Management Association Conference in Orlando. While there, Georger and students visited Opron, who gave them a private tour of the Swan and Dolphin hotel.

“He is a great alum who really cares a lot about Mercyhurst,” said Georger. “We hope that he will share both his good and bad experiences from the last 25 years with our students.”

Back in mid-March, students in the same Convention and Tradeshow Management course were visited by another Mercyhurst alum, Anthony Prusak, senior director of sales at the Cleveland Convention Center.

As guest lecturer, Prusak was joined by a panel of industry professionals to discuss strategies for event destination and site selection as well as steps for fulfilling contractual obligations.

PHOTO: Beth Ann Sheldon, hospitality management program director, Eric Opron '87, director of sales and marketing for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, and Daryl Georger, assistant professor of hospitality management.



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