California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

University Launching New Hospitality Degree

This fall, California Lutheran University will be offering a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management under the School of Management’s umbrella. This will make Cal Lutheran the first private school in Southern California to do so.

Gerhard Apfelthaler, dean of the School of Management and professor at Cal Lutheran, said the program began after talking with industry leaders about the shortage of talent in the industry.

“The more I talked to the business community, the more I realized that the hospitality industry has a real talent shortage. We had a few industry leaders approach directly…that’s when we started to do more research and found out the hospitality industry is really growing in California,” Apfelthaler said.

According to an article on, the hotel industry is expected to grow at a higher rate than most other industries.

Cal Lutheran worked for two years with industry leaders to develop and fund the new hospitality and tourism management program. With the help of over 50 industry leaders including The Walt Disney Co., Marriott, Town and Country Travel and the Conejo Valley Tourism Improvement District, it was able to raise over $600,000.

Jill Lederer, president and CEO of Conejo Valley Tourism Improvement District, said it was important to start a hospitability program to help keep up with demand.

“Conejo Valley Tourism Improvement District recognizes there is a tremendous amount of education that needs to happen to keep up with the hospitality field that is growing like crazy,” Lederer said.

Lederer also said it was important to start a program at Cal Lutheran because of the university’s academic reputation.

“We know the quality of education that comes out of any program associated with California Lutheran University; this will help people be extremely successful,” Lederer said.

The Conejo Valley Tourism Improvement District donated $100,000 to help fund the program.

Rocky Rosales, a student at Ventura College who will be transferring schools in the fall, said the new hospitality and tourism degree looks very attractive.

“The hospitality management sounds like a really good program. I’ll be transferring to a university this fall so that’s a program I will be applying to. Having a hospitality degree at a small school like Cal Lutheran is definitely a perk,” Rosales said.

An internship will be required to complete the bachelor’s of science. Apfelthaler said that this fall there will be twice as many internships available as there will be admitted students. Students will have the opportunity to intern at companies like The Urban Cafe, Westlake Village Inn, Cystal Cruises and Holland America Corporation.

“The biggest advantage is that you have a guaranteed internship and more or less a guaranteed job. There’s such a shortage in talent in the industry that I don’t think any graduates will have trouble finding an exciting career path,” Apfelthaler said.

According to Apfelthaler, the hospitality and tourism management department will feature three types of professors. The first will be current professors with some experience in the hospitality industry, the second will be industry professionals and the third will be new faculty members.

There are no immediate plans to develop a master’s program. However, Apfelthaler said after four or five graduating classes of undergrads, the university can consider a graduate program.

The hospitality and tourism management degree will be eligible for the 4+1 MBA option that lets undergraduate student begin graduate courses their senior year.

During the next one to two years, the School of Management also plans to start a new degree program.

“We are constantly looking to install new programs…One that we have just started development is for sports management,” Apfelthaler said.

Hospitality and tourism management classes will be taught in the classrooms of the School of Management. Apfelthaler said the next Cal Lutheran strategic plan will detail plans to have a dedicated School of Management facility.

Manuel Lira

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