PULLMAN, Wash. — For more than a dozen years, industry journalist Charles
Bernstein has recruited speakers for and helped design the annual Donald I.
Smith Chain Restaurant Management Conference at Washington State
University. At this year’s March 7-8 event, Bernstein received his deepest
“thank you” yet from WSU’s Hotel and Restaurant Administration.
WSU President Samuel Smith presented the editor of Chain Leader magazine
with the inaugural WSU Charles Bernstein Award for Hospitality Volunteerism.
“We thank you for your years of dedicated service and commitment to the
success and recognition of our hotel and restaurant administration program,”
HRA Director W. Terry Umbreit, conference leader Don Smith and several
major conference speakers were on hand for the presentation at the
presidential home. “We are proud to have an award named for Charles that will
be given in years to come to alumni and friends that we feel exemplify
volunteerism in hospitality,” Umbreit said.
“This award is the finest honor I can ever imagine,” said Bernstein.
Bernstein, an alumnus of Cornell University and Columbia University Graduate
School of Journalism, has spent many years as a chain restaurant industry
journalist. From 1973-91, he was chief editor for Nation’s Restaurant News. The
author of four books lives in New Jersey. He has won several awards from
hospitality organizations, and in 1997 received the Jesse Neal Award for the
best business story of the year and the Alice Elliot Human Resources
Conference’s first Mentor Award.
Bernstein joined the WSU conference program in 1987 at the request of his
friend, “Coach” Don Smith, for whom the conference was named five years
ago. Smith is faculty emeritus at WSU and for several years returned to
Pullman to teach popular, three-week crash courses in “multi-unit
management.” This year, said Smith, is the last he’ll work on planning the
Chain Restaurant Management Conference. HRA hosted a farewell dinner for
him at the close of the two-day event.
The theme for this year’s 15th annual conference was “A Brave New World:
The Restaurant Industry in the New Millennium.” Speakers discussed food
and menu trends and human resource issues. Nearly 125 restaurateurs from 54
companies across the nation attended the event, as did many WSU students,
faculty and staff.
WSU’s HRA is one of the most established hospitality programs in the nation,
and the only one in the Northwest. With two distinguished professors, an
associate business dean, and some of the most published hospitality teachers
and researchers in the world on its faculty, the HRA program offers a four-year
degree from an accredited business college and enjoys a 95 percent placement
rate for new graduates. The 350 HRA students at WSU must serve 1,000
internship hours in hospitality; can study at an affiliate in Brig, Switzerland;
and can join any of four dynamic clubs in their major.