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Support Hospitality Business Students in Honor of Dr. Ray Schmidgall’s Retirement

Ray Schmidgall, Hilton Hotels Professor

Dr. Ray Schmidgall is the Hilton Hotels Professor of Hospitality Financial Management at the Eli Broad College of Business. Since 1975, he has served as the School of Hospitality Business resident expert in accounting and financial management, helping to prepare every hospitality graduate for the financial side of the industry.

After his retirement, effective May 2020, it is his desire to continue to help hospitality students succeed in the field by raising funds to help them become the best young hospitality professionals they can be.

Dr. Schmidgall is an expert in the field who has published more than 250 articles and recently released the eighth edition of his Managerial Accounting for the Hospitality Industry textbook, one of several he has authored. He speaks at several national and global seminars and conferences annually, ranging from the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) to the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA). He also hosts the annual Hilton Lecture Series, which attracts hospitality experts to MSU each year to help students and faculty alike keep abreast of the latest research and happenings in the industry.

Prior to his teaching career, Dr. Schmidgall was the financial controller of the Educational Institute and American Hotel and Lodging Association, as well as working as an auditor with EY. He also owns Star Tree Farm with his wife, providing Christmas trees and festive holiday experiences to local families for more than 25 years. He earned his MBA and PhD degrees from MSU.

Your Support Will Make a Big Difference for Hospitality Students

We want to give you a chance to remember Dr. Schmidgall by donating to two causes he has identified as important to him:

  1. The Schmidgall Family Endowed Hospitality Student Fund to hire classroom student assistants to provide greater support for the learning of every student in the classroom.
  2. The Director’s Fund to sponsor students and faculty to attend important industry conferences and events globally.

You can choose which fund you would like to support. Your gift, of any size, will help hospitality students access the professional development and enrichment opportunities that will assist them in launching their careers as young professionals in the industry.

We also want to recognize Professor Schmidgall and his legacy, and to show how he impacted so many, we ask you to share your thoughts on how his courses impacted you and your career. We will share the accolades with him but collect responses anonymously.  

His Impact:  As shared by Dr. Carl Borchgrevink, Director, The School of Hospitality Business

Ray has had a significant impact on students as well as faculty and staff. When I came to campus, he provided significant encouragement and help in assimilating to MSU and The School, helping make my transition to MSU smoother. In addition, as I worked on my Ph.D. while working as an instructor in hospitality business, he helped with research ideas and research support. He is an icon and legend among our alumni, but he needs to be recognized by us as well. His impact within The School of Hospitality Business, The Broad College, and MSU is long lasting!

As an instructor and faculty member, he has taught our students and alumni about accounting, finance, ethics, norms, and social responsibility. The numbers he has worked in the classroom and beyond through consulting and research are relevant for all and demonstrate the choices that can be made and the impact of such. From speaking with students, I understand that his approach has demonstrated choices and provided clarity of purpose. The financial success and career success of our many alumni speak to his impact.

Q&A with Dr. Schmidgall:

Ray Schmidgall's last dayQWhy did you want to become a Spartan?
A:  I started here in graduate school and was very lucky that I had a great financial deal to come here. After about seven years in the field I then decided to come back for my Ph.D. It was one the best decisions I’ve made.

Q Why did you decide to teach? Specifically accounting and finance?
A:  I had a chance to teach while working in the field and had several different teaching experiences at MSU and other universities. After working with students I decided to move into teaching permanently. I later went out and learned more details specific to the hospitality industry, this allowed me to become a specialist in the area.

QWhat is one fun fact about you?
A:  I own a Tree Farm which includes many Christmas trees. I love to use it as personal examples in my classes.

QWhat advice do you have for students?
A:  I believe the path for students should follow the quote of Thomas Edison, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” Make sure you bring your best everyday while having the best positive attitude.

Make a Gift by Mail:

University Advancement
Spartan Way
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824

*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 20OOPCF1SCHMID” in the note section.


Remember the CARES Act has been extended for calendar year 2021 allowing taxpayers to take a charitable deduction of up to $300/$600 for those who take the standard deduction. As always, please consult your tax advisor/attorney for advice on your specific situation.