D.J. Rama, MMH ’96 named winner of MMH Outstanding Alumnus Award

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Dharmendra J. “D.J.” Rama, president of JHM Hotels, received the 2013 Cornell MMH Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award, presented by the master of management in hospitality (MMH) program. Rama received the award at the 12th annual Cornell MMH Reception, November 10, at the Affinia Manhattan in New York City.

The award committee selected Rama, a 1996 graduate of the program, after evaluating MMH and MPS (master of professional studies) alumni on a range of criteria, including academic performance and involvement at the school as a student, career progression, and significant continued engagement with the school.

“We are delighted to honor D.J. Rama with the Cornell MMH Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award,” said Michael D. Johnson, dean and E. M. Statler Professor of Hotel Administration. “D.J. is a leader within the hospitality industry, and he shares his expertise and passion with our students, faculty, and alumni through his involvement with the school. We are grateful for his service on the advisory board of our Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship and as president of the Cornell Hotel Society of South Carolina.”

While holding on to the legacy that his family built through four decades of hard work and integrity in the hospitality business, Rama adds his knowledge of current trends and best practices to lead JHM Hotels into the twenty-first century. He leads a team that oversees all existing operations in the full-service and select-service portfolios, and he develops future strategies for growth and profitability. Since becoming president of the company, he created O.N.E. (Outreach, Nurture, Encourage), a charitable-giving and volunteer arm of JHM Hotels.

Rama strives to make a positive impact in his field through his participation on the owner advisory councils for both Hyatt Hotels & Resort and Marriott Hotels & Resorts. He is also a member of the Auro University Board in India, a board member of American Hotel Foundation, and a distinguished professor at Michigan State University Hospitality School. Before joining JHM Hotels, Rama held positions at Holiday Inn Worldwide, Interstate Hotels, and the Marriott Corporation.

In addition to his master’s degree from Cornell, Rama earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island.

Recent recipients of the Cornell MMH Outstanding Alumna/us of the Year Award include Toni Knorr, general manager of the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco; Kirk Kinsell, president for the Americas at InterContinental Hotels Group; and Brian Ferguson, vice president of supply strategy and analysis for Expedia, Inc.

The Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) is a hospitality-focused, AACSB-accredited graduate business management degree. The 12-month program begins in May each year. Like an MBA, the MMH prepares students to be theory-based, action-oriented leaders of executive management teams and entrepreneurial ventures. MMH graduates are entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, developers, analysts, consultants, corporate directors, and managers of hotels, resorts, and spas. Access to these alumni generates outstanding career opportunities around the world. For more information, visit www.mmh.cornell.edu.

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