Yearly wrap-up: Hart School students showcase out-of-classroom experiences


by Phil Hiatt

Students present to an Advisory Board member.

SUMMARY: The Hart School Advisory Board sat in on students' presentations of their experiential learning trips.

Students in JMU’s Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management had the opportunity to showcase their work from the past year with members of the Advisory Board on Friday, April 29.

The activities showcased included students’ attendance at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, working at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans and work with the Club Management Association of America. In all, over 200 Hart School students participated in various clubs and out-of-classroom experiences this past year.

At the NASCAR race in Richmond in early April, senior Delany Crowley joined other Hart School students in working as ticket sales representatives. “I think this is one of the more unique opportunities the Hart School offers because you’re thrown into the fire,” said Crowley. “It was a testament to myself that I could do that, and I could handle those high-stress situations in the sports industry. It was very rewarding for me and pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Doug Levy, who served as the Advisory Board chair for the past two years, has seen an incredible amount of growth from the Hart School. “Through the tremendous faculty and always amazing students, we have continued to grow in size and impact. In the past two years, we have welcomed a new director, Stephanie West, instituted bylaws which will shape the work of the board moving forward and built a strong fundraising program that will help continue to fuel the engine of the Hart School for the future.”

Tareq Rafiq, a senior SRM student who shared experiences from the trip to the NCAA Men’s Final Four said, “I’d like to thank the Hart School Advisory Board for helping us and assisting us throughout this whole trip. We are so grateful to them, and it was a once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget.”

J.W. Cannon was selected to replace Doug Levy as the new chair for the Advisory Board and is excited to continue leading the growth and impact of the Hart School. “My hope…is to boost the profile of the sports and recreation management side of the program to be more nationally recognized. We have a top-notch program with amazing alumni throughout the industry,” Cannon said. “I’m also hoping to get more alumni – particularly recent grads and young alumni – to get more involved with the program.” 

The Hart School Advisory Board consists of 36 professionals from the hospitality, sport and recreation industries. Members include G.J. Hart, former CEO of Torchy’s Tacos, California Pizza Kitchen and Texas Roadhouse, and the namesake of the Hart School; Randall Tucker, chief diversity officer for Mastercard; Dawn Sweeney, former director of the National Restaurant Association; Ted Yeschin from Wasserman, a leading sports and entertainment marketing agency; and JoAn Scott, managing director of men’s basketball at NCAA.

The purpose of the Hart School Advisory Board is to enrich the relationship between the hospitality, sport and recreation program at James Madison University and the business community through the contributions of their time, talent and treasure.

The board will provide advice to the director and faculty of the school and help to advance its overall commitment to excellence, including the development of external funding sources. Direct and indirect donations from the board have been instrumental in helping to fund student trips, as well as in-class student experiences, faculty research and teaching grants and student scholarships.

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Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2024

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