Head of Shannon College of Hotel Management Retires after 34 years

Adrian Sylver, Head of Shannon College, with Dr Phillip Smyth, Retired Head of Shannon College, with students Colm Harris from Dublin and James O’Callaghan from Dungarvan, Co Waterford.
Dec 06 2022 Posted: 12:19 GMT

Tributes have been paid to Dr Phillip Smyth, the outgoing head of University of Galway’s Shannon College of Hotel Management who has retired after 34 years. 

Dr Smyth is succeeded by Adrian Sylver, who becomes the fifth Head of School in its 71-year history.

University of Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “Dr Philip Smyth has devoted decades to the teaching and learning of students and his legacy is the reputation for the quality of graduates who come through Shannon College of Hotel Management and work in Ireland and around the world. Our University values of respect, openness, excellence and sustainability are evident in the lived experience in Shannon but more so in the standards which the alumni bring with them on their careers. I wish Phillip a long and enjoyable retirement and thank him for his work.

Dr Smyth joined Shannon College in 1988 after a career in the Defence Forces, with Army duties in border control, overseas and as a lecturer in the Military College. His background had a major influence in his management style at Shannon College of Hotel Management, with attention to detail, impeccable presentation, discipline and hard work, all integral parts of the learning.

In his role, he successfully guided Shannon College of Hotel Management through three decades of immense change, from his start at the College with only four staff and 150 students, to the renowned institution it is today with more than 40 staff and more than 450 students. 

Speaking of Dr Smyth’s legacy, incoming Head of School Adrian Sylver said: “Phillip’s contribution to Shannon College of Hotel Management and the hospitality and tourism sector over the last 34 years has been immense. His tenure and leadership has brought the College to where it is today, a School of the College of Business Public Policy and Law, University of Galway.”

Dr Phillip Smyth said: “I have worked closely with Adrian Sylver for 16 years, and he has been my Deputy for the last five. He has the leadership skills and the drive to take Shannon College of Hotel Management to new heights. He is devoted to his students both educationally and personally and is deeply committed to maintaining our unique educational ethos.”

Through his time at Shannon, Dr Smyth oversaw and contributed to important milestones including Shannon’s integration within University of Galway, development of its own honours degree, extensive international placements, internationalisation of the student body, maintaining close alumni connections with the class patrons programme, and continuing Shannon’s 100% employment rate for undergraduates. 

The educational system at Shannon College is unique. Programmes offer a rich mix of practical training, extensive placements at operative and trainee management level, business education, all combined with development of the student as an individual and leader. 

Dr Phillip Smyth played an integral role in creating this environment that allow students to thrive and develop their own management style. He also ensured the history and ethos of Shannon College were preserved, along with the emphasis on practical, hands-on learning, while still developing with the ever-changing needs of industry. 

Adrian Sylver, a native of Galway, will lead Shannon College with Deputy Head of School Tracy Hegarty. Mr Sylver has worked as a lecturer in Accounting and Finance at Shannon College since 2006, having joined from Dublin Business School where he worked as a senior academic lecturing on undergraduate, postgraduate and professional accounting programmes. Tracy Hegarty, a graduate of Shannon College, lectures in Revenue Management, Rooms Division and Information Technology and has been with the College since 1996.

For more information on Shannon College visit https://www.universityofgalway.ie/shannoncollege/ 


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