LEWISTON – After 35 years of service, Gary D. Praetzel, Ph.D., who is credited with helping establish Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, will retire as dean of that school at the end of this academic year.
Praetzel has promoted the integration of practical learning experiences with classroom theory and is known for his work in the community and as an internationally recognized speaker who has organized global tourism conferences.
He will continue to serve the university as a special assistant to the president and academic vice president. He also will also remain a board member of Visit Buffalo Niagara, the Darwin Martin House and the Niagara Experience Center.
He joined Niagara University as an economics professor in the College of Business Administration in 1978. He was later named director of the Master of Business Administration program and dean of the college, performing in these dual roles for eight years.
Praetzel was chosen in 1999 to lead the Institute of Travel Hotel and Restaurant Administration, which became the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2001.
Throughout his tenure, he secured millions of dollars in grants and foundation funding to shape the program, which achieved a national Top 20 ranking. The college was a founding member of Leading Hotel Schools of the World and secured a partnership agreement with Carlson Cos.
Niagara University President Rev. James J. Maher congratulated Praetzel on his achievements and said he was delighted that Praetzel will remain an active member of the university community.
“His name is synonymous with our College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and his immense positive impact on his institution and thousands of current and former students is indisputable,” Maher said.
Praetzel earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from the University at Buffalo.
A search for his successor is under way.