The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, center, is joined by Dr. Kurt Stahura, dean of NU's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, far left, and Dr. Hung Le, vice president for international relations, far right, at an event to celebrate the establishment of the Imperial International Hotel School in Vung Tau, Vietnam.

Niagara University has entered into a formal international partnership with a new Vietnamese hospitality and tourism training center that’s aligned with the five-star Imperial Hotel in Vung Tau.

The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, signed the memorandum of understanding Jan. 5 with Mr. Huynh Trung Nam, chairman of the Imperial Group, which oversees the Imperial International Hotel School, a new learning center that has been custom-designed to provide world-class tourism training for Vietnamese students.

Within the partnership, Vietnamese students will work with faculty and administration from Niagara University to receive internationally recognized certificates upon graduation. The programs will be constructed by NU faculty to meet the needs of Vietnam’s hospitality industry and combined with those approved by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the ASEAN Economic Community.

The partnership is listed prominently on the Imperial International Hotel School’s website,, including on the footer of every page.

“Niagara University is excited to collaborate with the outstanding leadership of the Imperial International Hotel School,” said Father Maher, who was joined by Dr. Hung Le, NU’s vice president for international relations, and Dr. Kurt Stahura, dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “The faculty in our College of Hospitality and Tourism Management are exceptional in education and skill and workforce development, which we know has a major impact on the social and economic development of a region. When you couple the ambitious, energetic workforce that exists in Vietnam with our university’s Vincentian mission of helping wherever we can, this is a wonderful partnership.”

“We celebrate beginning of the strategic relationship between Niagara University and the Imperial International Hotel School and appreciate the visit of Father Maher, Dr. Le and Dean Stahura to Vietnam,” Mr. Nam said. “Cooperation with this prestigious and historic American university will bring systematic and professional training to the hospitality and tourism industry of Vietnam. Our partnership and friendship over the long term will strengthen and deepen mutual understanding and ties between Vietnam and the United States, particularly Western New York, while providing expanded opportunities for students from both countries.”

It has been reported that the Imperial International Hotel School will be the first in Vietnam to enable students to practice what they learn in class at a high-end hotel with a sophisticated infrastructure, equipment and services. The school’s mission is “to be Vietnam’s preferred provider of international standard, English language vocational training and placement in hospitality.”

Its establishment is imperative to enhancing the country’s hotel and tourism industry, according to Mr. Nguyen Huu Tho, chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association. Tho, who spoke at the signing ceremony on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said Vietnam must continue to offer practical training that meets international standards in order to gradually build a world-class tourism brand.

Mr. Richard C. Linstrom, dean of the Imperial International Hotel School, noted that the school will initially open short-term courses for receptionists and staff for restaurant, room and security and casino services, and English-language courses in hospitality. The school will collaborate with Niagara University and other foreign partner schools to organize long-term training programs. Linstrom touted the excellence of NU’s professors, calling them “experts (with) many years of experience in theory and practice.”

Linstrom also said that in addition to education, students of the Imperial International Hotel School would have job opportunities at local and overseas hotels, resorts and restaurants after graduation.

“We focus on quality standards and enhance the value of each student, so the whole school commitment to students will be ensuring employment opportunities with lucrative income in hotels, resorts and upscale restaurants,” he said.

Imperial International Hotel School MOU | 01.05.16

The Imperial Hotel is a 144-room boutique hotel nestled on the coast of Vung Tau, approximately 75 miles from Ho Chi Minh City. Established by the Imperial Group, a well-known provider of hospitality and other services, it is the only five-star resort in the area. The school is located on a dedicated level of the hotel’s tower.

Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, founded in 1968, was the first program in the United States to offer a bachelor’s degree in tourism and has a long history of training individuals to succeed the industry. The college, which employs faculty from all over the globe and offers internships and exchange programs in several countries, is a founding member of the Hotel Schools of Distinction.

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