Robin DiPietro, director for the University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, is the winner of the Outstanding Hospitality Educator of the Year Award, given by the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
DiPietro, who is also director of the university’s International Institute for Foodservice Research and Education and a professor, was selected by a committee of SCRLA members. She was chosen based on her hard work and dedication to the hospitality industry over the years and specifically for her contributions since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Her assistance and professional and technical support in writing the Restaurant Reopening Guidance documents that preceded Food and Drug Administration and National Restaurant Association guidance helped get our industry the information needed to re-open safely,” says SCRLA Vice President Douglas OFlaherty. “Voluntarily sharing her research with our members has also helped advance the industry.”
DiPietro also led a team of researchers in examining food insecurity and access in South Carolina during the pandemic, and is currently part of a team studying COVID-19’s impact on tourism in the Palmetto State. She also spearheaded the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management’s public forum series, which featured faculty members and industry leaders who shared insights about ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery best practices.
“I was shocked and honored to win the SCRLA Outstanding Hospitality Educator of the Year Award,” DiPietro says. “I have always respected the enormous role that the SCRLA has played in South Carolina and how they work to help the hospitality and tourism industry in our state. I have worked with them for the past 11 years and have been impressed with what they do on a daily basis to fight for what’s right in the industry that helps South Carolina thrive. My role in helping with various research projects and educating students and others on the role of hospitality and tourism is dwarfed by the work of the entire group of partners in SCRLA and their commitment. I feel very grateful to receive such an award from such a great group!”
Since joining the University of South Carolina, DiPietro has taught a wide range of hospitality and restaurant management courses and was also responsible for overseeing the Ph.D. program in hospitality management. South Carolina is ranked as one of the top 10 colleges in the U.S. for hospitality and tourism management and offers bachelor’s degrees in hospitality management and tourism management, as well as master’s and Ph.D. degrees in those areas.
Prior to her work in academia, DiPietro spent 20 years in the restaurant industry, working in restaurant operations, human resources and training in positions including director of training and operations for Burger King. She has spoken to groups nationally and internationally such as Longhorn Steakhouse, Burger King, Darden Restaurants, Aruba Tourism Authority, Aruba Hotel and Tourism Association, SSP International, and Disney, and has more than 150 publications on a range of topics in the foodservice and hospitality industries.
She will be recognized at an SCRLA award ceremony Feb. 1. SCRLA is a statewide, non-partisan trade organization with a mission to promote, protect and educate the foodservice and lodging industries of the state and to ensure positive business growth for its members.
Read more about the University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management.