The Head of Shannon College of Hotel Management, Phillip Smyth, recently retired after 34 years. He is succeeded by Adrian Sylver, who becomes the fifth Head of School in its 71-year history.
Phillip joined Shannon College in 1988 after a career in the Irish Army with duties in Border Control, Overseas service and Military College Lecturer. This Army 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 at Shannon College.
Phillip successfully guided Shannon College through three decades of immense change, from his start with the College with only 4 staff and 150 students, to today with over 40 staff and more than 450 students.
Through his time at Shannon, he oversaw and contributed to important milestones including Shannon’s integration as a College 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 all undergraduate students.
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. Phillip has played an integral role in creating this environment that allow students to thrive and develop their own management style.
Throughout Phillip’s time as Head of Shannon College he ensured the history and ethos were preserved. The emphasis on practical hands-on learning was maintained while still developing with the ever-changing needs of industry.
Speaking of Phillip’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.”
Galway native Adrian will now lead the team at Shannon College with the help of Deputy Head of School Tracy Hegarty. Adrian 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, a graduate of Shannon College, lectures in Revenue Management, Rooms Division and Information Technology and has been with the College since 1996.
Phillip Smyth said: “I have worked closely with Adrian 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.”