Head of Shannon College of Hotel Management retires after 34 years

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Adrian Sylver, Head of Studies/ Deputy Head of College and Phillip Smyth with students Colm Fitzharris, Dublin and James O'Callaghan, Dungarvan Co Waterford. Pic Arthur Ellis.

Tributes have been paid to Dr Phillip Smyth, the outgoing head of University of Galway’s Shannon College of Hotel Management who has retired after 34 years.

Dr Smyth guided the college through three decades of huge changes, from his start in 1988 with only four staff members and 150 students, to the renowned institution it is today with more than 40 staff and over 450 students.

Dr Smyth joined Shannon College after a career in the Defence Forces, with Army duties in border control, overseas and as a lecturer in the Military College.

His background had a major influence in his management style at Shannon College of Hotel Management, with attention to detail, impeccable presentation, discipline and hard work, all integral parts of the learning.

Through his time at Shannon, Dr Smyth oversaw and contributed to important milestones including Shannon’s integration within University of Galway and the development of its own honours degree.

He also oversaw extensive international placements, maintaining close alumni connections with the class patrons programme, and continuing Shannon’s 100% employment rate for undergraduates.

University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Dr Philip Smyth has devoted decades to the teaching and learning of students and his legacy is the reputation for the quality of graduates who come through Shannon College of Hotel Management and work in Ireland and around the world.

“Our University values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability are evident in the lived experience in Shannon but more so in the standards which the alumni bring with them on their careers.

“I wish Phillip a long and enjoyable retirement and thank him for his work.”

Speaking of Dr Smyth’s legacy, incoming Head of School Adrian Sylver said Dr Smyth’s contribution to Shannon College of Hotel Management and the hospitality and tourism sector over the last 34 years has been immense.

“His tenure and leadership has brought the College to where it is today, a School of the College of Business Public Policy and Law, University of Galway,” he said.

Dr Phillip Smyth said: “I have worked closely with Adrian Sylver for 16 years, and he has been my Deputy for the last five.

“He has the leadership skills and the drive to take Shannon College of Hotel Management to new heights. He is devoted to his students both educationally and personally and is deeply committed to maintaining our unique educational ethos.”

Adrian Sylver, a native of Galway, will lead Shannon College with Deputy Head of School Tracy Hegarty.

Mr Sylver has worked as a lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Shannon College since 2006, having joined from Dublin Business School where he worked as a senior academic lecturing on undergraduate, postgraduate and professional accounting programmes.

Tracy Hegarty, a graduate of Shannon College, lectures in Revenue Management, Rooms Division and Information Technology and has been with the College since 1996.