SHA Collaborates with Centerplate Stir - Sports Hospitality Course to Begin Fall 2011

Aug 24, 2011

Contact: Ashlee McGandy, 607.254.1368,

The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration will collaborate with Centerplate, the leading hospitality provider to North America’s premier sports stadiums and convention centers, on a new sports hospitality course. Rupert Spies, a senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration, and John Sergi, a hospitality strategist and Centerplate’s chief design officer, together with Centerplate’s Stir™ division, and will premier HADM 5305: Strategic Hospitality Planning in Sports, a seven-week course starting this fall 2011.

Strategic Hospitality Planning in Sports, co-facilitated by Spies and Sergi, a 1989 graduate of the school’s master’s program, will feature various guest speakers from the industry each week and will take students through the same processes that Sergi and his team at Centerplate Stir follow when taking on a new project. Starting with brand analysis, students will create a conceptual plan for an actual Centerplate Stir project including menu development, facility design and operations, contracts, business considerations, and public relations. Students will present their conceptual plans at the close of the course.

Any qualified student who takes the class is eligible for an internship at a Centerplate property. This will allow students to see the theories learned in class put into practice in the industry.

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Centerplate on this new course,” said Spies. “Centerplate is on the cutting edge of food service in sports and entertainment. By partnering with them, we will give our students a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about this developing segment of the hospitality industry. The course will combine theoretical underpinnings and practical skills, preparing students for unique career paths in sports hospitality.”

“Centerplate StirTM is dedicated to changing the world of food in sports,” states Sergi. “When trying to change something on such a huge scale, one way to do it is to change people’s perspective on it, change why people are doing what they’re doing. What better place to start people thinking differently than before they enter the world of operations and tactical considerations. Centerplate is looking at hospitality strategically, and we are looking to teach people to look at hospitality the way we do. We are doing that by collaborating with the country’s preeminent hospitality education program by educating and training students to be future leaders in the field of strategic hospitality.”

Centerplate Stir™ is a fluid and multi-disciplinary group of talented thinkers and doers from all areas of Centerplate’s capabilities and select outside resources. The group is led by Sergi, a pioneer who has dedicated more than 25 years to the transformational idea that hospitality can live and thrive in sports facilities, convention centers, and anywhere large numbers of people come together with food.

About Centerplate
Centerplate crafts and delivers “Craveable Experiences. Raveable Results.” in 250 prominent sports, entertainment and convention venues across North America. Centerplate has provided services to 11 Super Bowls, 19 World Series, key events for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Art Basel Miami Beach, 15 official U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls and the largest plated dinner in history at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Centennial Celebration.  Visit the company online at

About the Cornell School of Hotel Administration
The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration is shaping the global knowledge base for hospitality management through leadership in education, research and industry advancement. The school provides management instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines, educating the next generation of leaders in the world's largest industry. Founded in 1922 as the nation's first collegiate course of study in hospitality management, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration is recognized as the world leader in its field. For more information, visit