Honoring a Man Who Was the Heart of Hospitality

HFTP Greater Puget Sound Chapter Awards First Scholarship Under a New Name in Honor of the Late Dr. Tom Mayburry

In 2007, the HFTP Greater Puget Sound Chapter started a partnership with South Seattle Community College. The college had recently gone through a re-certification process and was offering a four year degree in Hospitality Management. The Division Chair for the program, Dr. Tom Mayburry, not only became an integral part of our chapter – serving as a director for a number years – he became a good friend.

Working with Tom, we established the first student chapter of HFTP in Washington and the “Heart of Hospitality Scholarship” that we offered to a deserving student each year. Tom worked tirelessly for his students and when you talk to them about Tom, their love is evident.

There are those individuals that come into our lives for a moment and then there are those that come for a lifetime. I thought of Tom as a “lifetime” friend. We talked about all aspects of hospitality – he himself spent 20 years in the restaurant business before going back to school and becoming a professor. I, for one, am so glad he did. His students are the future of our industry and I can say unequivocally we are in good hands.

This past July, while touring Ireland with a group of students, Tom passed away. While we are all still reeling with his passing; the program he helped developed lives on in his students and in Katie Frazier, the program manager.

This year, in honor of our friend and colleague, the “Heart of Hospitality Scholarship” was renamed to the “Tom Mayburry Heart of Hospitality Scholarship.” I can honestly say there was no bigger heart in hospitality than Tom Mayburry’s.

Earlier this month, the first scholarship of $4000 in Tom’s honor was awarded to Sunmeng Yan. She is entering her senior year of the Hospitality Management bachelors degree program and is active in the student chapter of HFTP. She has also been placed on the Dean’s list in recognition of her academic achievement. Sunmeng became interested in the hospitality industry after working at the Nordstrom Café because she enjoyed “putting that smile on my guest’s face.” She is currently working as an intern at the Four Seasons.

When I look in the faces of the students that attend our meetings, I see Tom’s energy and I know he lives on. He has made a lasting contribution to our industry and I for one miss him very much.

Lisa Funk, CHAE is director of finance for Alexis Hotels and the HFTP Global vice president. She is also an active member of the HFTP Greater Puget Sound Chapter.


Pictures: (Top) Shows Tom Mayberry (second from right) with his students during a wine raffle fundraiser for the scholarship in April 2009. (Bottom: From L to R) Mike Lancey, board director for Greater Puget Sound Chapter; Sunmeng Yan, scholarship recipient; Marney Zellers, chapter president for Greater Puget Sound.

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1 Comment

  1. This is wonderful to see and thank you for honoring my late father. He was very passionate about his students and we miss him~Kristi Mayburry-Zinn

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