Eulogy for
Ray Kavanaugh

Presented by Thomas Pearson
October 21, 2008

We gather today to remember the life and contributions of Ray Kavanaugh who died on October 9, 2008. Ray joined Rotary in 1997 when he came to Purdue to head the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

We can remember Ray in many ways. I would like to emphasize several of these. First, in the club many of us remember Ray as a special person dynamic, interesting, a sports buff, and a genuinely nice guy who was interested in service in its many forms.

Second, as you will recall from his newspaper obituary, he was a man of many accomplishments both academic and industry. He was a respected research contributor with over 90 publications to his name. He was a respected hospitality industry leader, having served as Human Resources director for Red Lobster Corporation, and serving many industry groups as an advisor. He was a respected academic administrator, and had been a department head of two nationally recognized programs. He was respected as a national education leader, even serving as President of the national Council of Hospitality Educators. For his work, which crossed all of these roles he was honored many times. Included in these honors was a lifetime achievement award in education, and an officer's role in the Education Foundation of the National Restaurant Association. He was also invited to many industry forums for his perspectives. His stature was an important part of the department's standing as the number one ranked program of its kind in the United States.

Third, I would like to take another moment to look at the man behind all of these honors. You will then readily see what made him so successful. First, Ray was in the perfect position. He headed an applied academic department: one focused on the hospitality industry he loved, and one educating students for a future full of exciting possible roles. (He used to remind everyone that there were at least 130 different categories of jobs within the hospitality industries.) This kind of department allowed him to combine his passions bringing the industry segments, government groups, different levels of students, and the research community together; and focusing the endeavors of all of these groups to improving the industry, improving the lives of workers, and improving services to patrons and travelers. The real secret of his success however was enjoyment. He enjoyed mentoring and was an active mentor to individual graduate students, undergraduates, and various student groups. He enjoyed telling the 'industry story', and about the importance of this large industry to groups as divergent as government agencies and high school student groups. His work in this area involved a great deal of speaking nationally and internationally. He enjoyed influencing and leading the industry and its associations through his publishing efforts, through helping improve industry standards, through developing continuing education efforts, and in many other ways. He enjoyed helping to lead post-secondary education nationally, especially through the hospitality educators association. As a result of his leadership, the association became much bigger and influential. He enjoyed research, especially related to human resources and training. He also enjoyed the many opportunities to influence the international development of tourism. Most of all he enjoyed bringing people together to carefully identify common problems and work out sensible, far reaching programs. Rotary emphasizes service. All of Ray's efforts were mane in a true spirit of service. He was a good example for us all. One final note: Regardless of the hours worked and the extensive travel involved with his work, Ray's first priority was his wife Judy and sons Ryan and Quinn. By-the-way, he was very proud to present both sons as part of the foods industries. He enjoyed his family and being a dad.

Submitted by Tom Pearson
October 21,2008