An endowed scholarship to honor longtime convention center legend Jimmie Dee Fore has been established at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, one of the leading hospitality education programs in the world.
The Jimmie Dee Fore Scholarship Endowment was created to preserve Fore’s legacy by helping top students pursuing an education and career in convention, meetings and facility management. The Hilton College’s Convention and Meeting Management curriculum educates students on program planning, budgeting, transportation coordination, exhibit sales and management, contract and lease negotiations and more.
Initial funding for the endowment was contributed by Fore’s family, friends and industry organizations. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will match all contributions, doubling the value of the endowment.
“Jimmie’s passion, dedication and contributions will live on as this scholarship supports future generations of professionals who have the same passion and vision to enhance the convention center management industry,” said longtime friend Wayne Chappell, vice president of Tradeshow Relations & Portfolio Sales for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Fore, who passed away in March 2011, began his career at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau as Sales Manager after graduating from the University of Houston in 1961.
During his 42 years in the exhibition industry, Fore served as CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau; served as executive vice president of the Astrodome-Astrohall Stadium Corporation; managed the nation’s largest exhibition center, Chicago’s McCormick Place; and was president and general manager of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
It was in August 2005 during Hurricane Katrina that truly defined his career. As general manager of New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center, Fore refused evacuation orders – instead keeping the facility open to house emergency military and medical crews and thousands of residents left homeless. Fore led the cleanup and $60-million renovation plan of the Convention Center which partially reopened just six months after Katrina.
“If there ever was a role model for the hospitality industry, it would be Jimmie Dee Fore,” said John Riddle, President of Riddle & Associates. “He may have walked easy in his boots and spoken softly, but he carried a big stick of knowledge about this industry.
Jimmie listened to his customers and was not afraid to take the necessary action to get things done. He cared deeply about his employees and willingly shared his vast knowledge derived from a wealth of experience and success.”
Fore also helped form the International Convention Centers Conference, now known as the International Association of Venue Management, to provide convention center managers with a forum to discuss industry-specific issues and trends.
In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Venue Managers.
“Jimmie has been referred to as iconic. Those of us who knew him well know that reference would make him blush, but he deserves that accolade,” said Riddle. “The hospitality industry lost a resource, mentor and huge asset, and I lost an irreplaceable friend whom I miss.”
|People on the Move|