MANATEE -- Patrick Moreo will head the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee's College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership as dean, university officials announced Wednesday, with hopes of creating a "boutique-like" hospitality program that will compete with some of the larger hospitality programs in the state and the country.
"I want to be big enough to be meaningful, but small enough to be close with each other," Moreo, 67, told the Herald on Wednesday. "That's going to fill a niche that probably is shrinking throughout the country."
Moreo will replace interim dean James Curran, who will resume his role as dean of the College of Business. The College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership was renamed last spring, to more fully capture what the college focuses on and to move the technology leadership program to the business school.
Moreo will join the staff at USF officially in July, but he will be introduced Friday night to the college community at the 40th anniversary gala dinner at the Polo Grill and Bar in Lakewood Ranch, according to officials. Moreo is currently a professor at the College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
"Dr. Moreo is an excellent addition to our campus and to our College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership," Sandra Stone, regional chancellor, said in a statement. "His credentials in hospitality and tourism are impressive and a perfect fit for the future of the college and our region."
At USF, Moreo hopes to grow the number of students in the program to about 500, which he called the "sweet spot." That number of students would support enough faculty to have an expert in each of the different areas of hospitality, but also keeps the student population small enough that strong relationships can be built, he said. He also wants to ramp up the use of the Culinary Innovation Lab, located in Lakewood Ranch.
"I think we can take that thing and rock and roll with it," he said. "The public loves coming into the student operated restaurants to dine."
Moreo began in 1975 as a teaching assistant at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration. He has since taught at programs at Pennsylvania State University, New Mexico State University, Oklahoma State University and UNLV where, in addition to teaching, he served as an associate dean for three years and department chair for five years. Altogether, he has served for 13 years as a faculty member at UNLV's College of Hotel Administration.
Moreo received his doctoral degree in higher education administration in 1983 and a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1969, both from UNLV. He received a master's degree in hotel administration in 1976 from Cornell.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.