Gary D. Praetzel, Ph.D.
- (716) 286-8272
- Office Location:
- St. Vincent's Hall, Room 416
Dr. Gary D. Praetzel was appointed Director of the Institute of Travel, Hotel and Restaurant Administration in August 1999. On February 8, 2001, the Institute became the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, only the fourth college of its type in the country, with Dr. Praetzel assuming the title of Dean. Dr. Praetzel has been at Niagara since 1978, except for a short period of time when he worked in the Federal Reserve System. For eight years he served simultaneously as Dean of the College of Business Administration and MBA Director, and five additional years as MBA Director. He also is a Professor of Economics.
While Dean of the College of Business, Dr. Praetzel was the initial Co-op Director at Niagara, helping to obtain funding for the centralized Co-op Office on campus. Dean Praetzel secured two $1.5m grants from two foundations, plus millions of dollars in additional grants, shaping the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management into a leading national and international program in hospitality and tourism evidenced by its national ranking, its role as a founding member of The Leading Hotel Schools of the World, and its prestigious industry partnerships including a hospitality partnership agreement with Carlson. He started a mentoring program and a Business Days program for students with business leaders in the 1980’s and has, through many initiatives with the business community, integrated practical learning experiences with classroom theory. He began the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Alumni Association in 1999.
This focus on practical industry applications continues today in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management with such innovative programs as work aboard experiences in five-star properties in Lake Como, Italy and Cusco, Peru; a dual degree exchange program in hospitality and tourism with the International University of Applied Sciences in Bad Honnef, Germany; the Alumni Advantage and Mentorship Programs; a cruise course with Carnival Cruise Lines; the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Career Fair; and the College’s signature event, the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Convocation honoring national and international leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry. He has started accelerated programs for non-traditional students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He expanded the innovative study abroad program started by Institute of Transportation, Travel and Tourism in 1988 to the rest of the Niagara University campus, including graduate students. For his efforts in promoting international understanding and community service, Schiller International University awarded him an honorary doctoral degree. Dr. Praetzel was the commencement speaker at Schiller International University in December 1997 and at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York in May 1994. He is a recipient of Niagara University’s Vincentian Mission Award, the Outstanding Volunteer Award of Family and Children’s Service of Niagara, the Pathfinder’s Award for industry/education cooperation, and was listed as one of the 125 most influential leaders in Western New York by Business First in January 2013 and in February 2014 was listed in Business First’s Power 250 most influential leaders in Western New York.
Dean Praetzel joined the board of Family and Children’s Service of Niagara in 1997, becoming Chair in 2001 until his resignation in 2004. He also served for many years as a board member of the Erie Niagara Regional Partnership. Dr. Praetzel served for 2 ½ years as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Buffalo-Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Buffalo Convention Center and has been a board member since 2004. He also served on the boards of the Niagara Frontier Industry Education Council, the Niagara County Workforce Investment Board, and The Leading Hotel Schools of the World – an association of leading hospitality and tourism programs worldwide that work together and with the 450 five-star Leading Hotels of the World. Under Dr. Praetzel’s direction the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management co-founded The Leading Hotel Schools of the World with The Hotel School The Hague in Holland and The Leading Hotels of the World. For nine years, Dr. Praetzel served on the Board of Regents of Concordia College in Bronxville, New York and also served on the boards of the Community Leadership Development Program of Niagara County, and a national business school accreditation body. He also served on the Industry-Education Council of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The Governor of New York State appointed Dr. Praetzel to the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Council in 2006. Dr. Praetzel served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association and chaired the Tourism Educator’s Council of the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association. He still remains a board member of Visit Buffalo Niagara, the Darwin Martin House which he was appointed to in February 2013, and the Niagara Experience Center.
Dr. Praetzel helped organize student conferences and a variety of sessions at professional conferences; participates in major hospitality and tourism conferences; and presented papers at a wide range of professional conferences both domestically and abroad. He was an invited speaker at the third global conference sponsored by the International Institute of Peace through Tourism in Glasgow, Scotland. He has published a broad range of articles dealing with ethics, higher education issues, curriculum, study abroad, economic policy, hospitality and tourism, and theology.
Dr. Praetzel earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo.