On Tuesday, November 5, Johnson & Wales University’s Karen Silva, Ed.D., was inducted into the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitor Bureau’s Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual meeting at the Rhode Island Convention Center. In front of over 300 guests, Silva was honored for her significant and consistent history of support and engagement with students and others in the hospitality industry in Rhode Island and southern New England, as well as for her long tenure working on the board of PWCVB. The Hall of Fame award is the highest honor given each year by the Bureau and was awarded along with recognition given to 30 additional hospitality professionals and organizations from across Rhode Island. Silva is credited with helping literally thousands of students and alumni launch and maintain their hospitality careers through her work at JWU and beyond over the past 30-plus years. The event also highlighted PWCVB’s success in sustaining the Rhode Island region’s strong tourism industry, which was characterized by President/CEO Kristen Adamo as “flourishing.”
In her acceptance, Silva thanked the PWCVB for the award and commended the organization’s leadership for promoting and supporting hospitality throughout the state and beyond. She also acknowledged Johnson & Wales University (JWU), where she has worked for more than three decades. She currently serves as the department chair for graduate business programs, in addition for teaching online for the JWU College of Online Education, and has served in multiple department chair and other leadership roles during her tenure. A number of Silva’s JWU colleagues attended the event to recognize her accomplishment, including Lou D’Abrosca, Ed.D., dean of the College of Business; Kathleen Grady, associate dean of the College of Business; Michael Sabitoni, ’90, ’92 M.S., CHE (Silva’s husband and department chair in the College of Hospitality Management, whom she also specifically acknowledged in her remarks); Leslie Kosky, associate professor of hospitality; and Cindy Parker, ’09 MBA, Ed.D., vice president of JWU’s College of Online Education. In attendance were also numerous JWU alumni, many of whom have been influenced by Silva in their careers.
Accolades for Silva were many, including a personalized video produced by GoProvidence starring several colleagues who shared their support, respect and admiration, as well as touting her eternally positive outlook and empathetic nature. Graduate business faculty who work with her stated, “Dr. Silva embodies the spirit of hospitality for which we have become known throughout the world”, and “she is a leader who makes each person feel valued for their unique contributions to the team and the university; she values us for who we are, and it is an honor for me to serve under, and with, this highly gifted administrator.” When asked recently in a brief interview by This Week at JWU about her own favorite thing about JWU, Silva responded, “The fact that I’ve been fortunate to work in a variety of departments throughout the university and interface with the amazing community — the family that truly is JWU — faculty, staff and students — it’s not just a job, or a career, but a lifestyle choice.”
Karen has a B.A. in English-Education from UMass Dartmouth, a M.A. in Managerial Administration from Rhode Island College, and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from Boston University. She resides in Cranston with husband Michael and her adorable and much-loved puppy, Casside.
As someone who is both a colleague and close personal friend of Karen’s, I can affirm that Karen lives by the Ben & Jerry’s motto that she recently cited in an interview: “Life is short, so if it’s not fun, why do it?” In addition to her empathy and connection with students, staff and her faculty team, she is honestly the most positive and genuinely fun and engaging person I have had the privilege to know, and I look forward to many rewarding future collaborations with this consummate hospitality professional!
If you are considering a degree in hospitality and want to learn from industry professionals like Silva, Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education offers an exciting array of hospitality degree programs to help you achieve your goals. Complete the “Request Info” form on this page, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected] to learn more.