Hasmukh P. Rama Named Conti Professor at Penn State

December 7, 2007

Hasmukh P. Rama, founder and CEO of JHM Hotels, Inc., has accepted an appointment as the next Walter J. Conti Professor of Hospitality Management in Penn State‚s College of Health and Human Development. As a Conti Professor, Rama will visit the School of Hospitality Management on a regular basis to interact with students and faculty, present guest lectures in hospitality management and speak at graduate and undergraduate seminars.

Rama is the founder of JHM Hotels, Inc., a national, multi-brand hotel company that has owned and operated hotels throughout the United States for more than 30 years. Based in Greenville, S.C., the company owns 28 premier-brand, franchised hotels in the United States, as well as a five-star hotel in Surat, India.

Rama joins a distinguished group of Conti Professors at Penn State‚s School of Hospitality Management. "We are delighted that Mr. Rama will visit the School of Hospitality Management as a Conti Pprofessor," said Dr. Bert Van Hoof, director of the School of Hospitality Management. "He is a highly-respected leader in the hospitality industry whose wisdom and expertise will be of great benefit to our faculty and students."

Rama, affectionately known as H.P., began his hospitality career by buying a 40-room independent motel in Pomona, Calif., while attending night classes and holding a job as a dishwasher. His brothers soon joined him to create a family business that has since grown to be among the top 50 hotel management companies in the world.

Rama is a past chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). He has received numerous honors and awards including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, one of the world‚s most prestigious business awards, in 1996.

Walter J. Conti, for whom the professorship is named, is a well-known restaurateur and industry leader from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He is the retired owner and chief executive officer of Conti's Cross Keys Inn and Conti‚s Pipersville Inn, both located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Conti has held various leadership positions in the National Restaurant Association, including a term as chairman (1981-82), and he is a "Diplomate" of the association‚s educational foundation. The Conti Professorship Program was established by alumni and friends of the Penn State School of Hospitality Management in 1987 to honor Walter J. Conti for his contributions to the school, to Penn State and to the hospitality profession.

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Editors: Please contact Lauren Schuchart at 814-863-0248 or lrs192@psu.edu. For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at (814) 865-3831 or healthhd@psu.edu.