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Celebration of life set for UNLV hospitality professor Patti Shock

Updated December 6, 2019 - 7:57 pm

Friends, colleagues and students of longtime Southern Nevada hospitality educator Patti Shock will celebrate her life Monday at The International School of Hospitality in Las Vegas.

Shock, credited with elevating the study of hospitality and the meeting and events industry into academia, died Nov. 22. She was 78.

An academic consultant to The International School of Hospitality, an accredited certificate- and diploma-granting hospitality continuing education school, Shock was a professor in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at UNLV for 25 years and chaired the Tourism and Convention Department for 18 years. Prior to that, she chaired the Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Department at Georgia State University in Atlanta for 10 years.

“Patti was the greatest connector of people,” said Marcus Lam, director of admissions and recruitment at The International School of Hospitality. “While her legend was built on textbooks and pioneering achievements in catering education, it was the numerous people she brought together that truly made her so special. If there was an introduction to be made, she managed to make it, despite the difficulty or boldness required.”

A winner of dozens of awards and honors, Shock was most at home in the classroom where she influenced the lives of thousands of students over the years. “Patti often taught with an infectious tone of urgency as she was just so full of ideas, information and enthusiasm,” Lam said.

Lam called Shock an “incredible adviser” and noted she was instrumental during the formative years of the TISOH. “She has truly touched the lives of countless students and professionals and leaves behind a profound legacy,” Lam said.

In the community, the Henderson resident was quick to offer analysis on tourism issues of the day, from the effect of Brexit on British visitation to Las Vegas, to how the recreational use of marijuana could affect Southern Nevada tourism.

A lifelong Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, she grew up in Oakland, California, working in her family’s Italian restaurant there. She owned her first restaurant in the 1950s at a time when women-owned businesses were rare.

At one time, she wanted to become the first female general manager of a Hyatt Regency hotel, but changed course when she realized how much attention would be required to spend on balance sheets and financial matters. She ended up in the classroom and received professor emeritus status at UNLV before consulting for TISOH and developing online hospitality courses for Florida International University and Kennesaw State University.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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