USC’s 2023 Hospitality and Tourism Graduates Are Ready to Lead

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Dean Anthony Bailey addressing graduates at the 2023 Bovard College Commencement Ceremony.
Photo: Stella Kalinina

On Friday, May 12, 2023, graduates of the Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism program gathered on USC’s University Park Campus to commemorate their achievements with family, friends, and peers. Thirty-two graduates traveled from 11 states and countries to participate in the ceremony. The graduates work across the hospitality and tourism field, including hotels, food and beverage, parks and recreation, and more.

Yoko Matsubara, a Virtual Learning Producer at Ernst & Young, was recommended by faculty to represent her classmates and Bovard College as the banner bearer of the ceremony. “Commencement represents the power of lifelong education for me, as well as a new beginning for becoming the best version of myself,” she said. Yoko also noted that Professor Hicham Jaddoud, who received this year’s Bovard College Faculty Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring, was one of her favorite professors for his “passion for teaching, genuine care for his students, and the forward-thinking way he incorporates diverse perspectives into the classroom.”

Banner bearer Yoko Matsubara leading the procession of graduates.
Photo: Stella Kalinina

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the hospitality and tourism industry, with the field experiencing explosive growth as a result of lifted travel restrictions, technological advances, and improved service expectations. In his commencement address, Dean Anthony Bailey remarked how MSHT graduates “are ready to lead change in a recently disrupted and now booming industry, as well as to lead the industry into a sustainable future.” 

Professor Diana C. Beltran, Commencement Marshal for the ceremony, was inspired by commencement as the “completion of a journey and the start of a new one, equipped with new knowledge and skills.” Professor Beltran echoed the Dean’s sentiments, advising the graduates to continue to improve professionally by “thinking critically about the impact and sustainability of the industry.”

This year’s commencement speaker was Dr. Theodore Johnson, MS in Criminal Justice professor at Bovard College, political scientist, author, and senior advisor with New America. Professor Johnson spoke about leaving the U.S. Navy to pursue higher education in search of new opportunities. “One of the many beautiful things about Bovard College is that it is geared to provide working professionals the opportunity to earn a graduate degree without stepping away from [their] careers.” Professor Johnson concluded his speech with a poem from the early twentieth century poet Edgar A. Guest as a reminder that “it is important to continue to improve ourselves – to do the hard things.”

Many of the 2023 graduates work in the hospitality and tourism industry; however, USC’s MS in Hospitality and Tourism also provides a valuable foundation for people looking to change careers and enter the field. Students explore every concept needed for professional success,  including globalization, diversity, innovation, sustainability, and ethical practices. Courses also prepare students to lead and innovate through disruption.

Designed to fit students’ schedules, the online MS in Hospitality and Tourism program is offered on both a one- and two-year track. At 24 units, the program can be completed in just 12 months for students in the one-year track. No GRE is required, and students have their choice of three enrollment dates each year.

Watch the 2023 commencement ceremony here.

Learn more about earning your MS in Hospitality and Tourism from USC Bovard College.

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