This spring, Professor Patrick O’Halloran, Hospitality Management Department, welcomed Julie Torres, hotel manager of the Affinia Manhattan Hotel, as guest speaker at City Tech’s B.J. Denihan Lecture Series. Also present was Alex Spektor, general manager of the Affinia Manhattan Hotel, a City Tech graduate and a member of the College’s Hospitality Management Department Advisory Board.
The B.J. Denihan Lecture Series is now in its sixth year and is supported by the Denihan family who also sponsors the B.J. Denihan Scholarship program for Hospitality Management students. Professor O’Halloran hosts two lectures each semester to which the College community and general public are invited to hear hospitality professionals speak. Students benefit greatly from the advice and industry insights of the guest speakers.
“The more you bring to the table—that directly benefits the employer and the guest—the greater the opportunity for upward mobility,” said Torres, who emphasized the importance of a solid educational background along with obtaining additional industry certifications like the ones offered through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute and City Tech.
“City Tech is grateful for the special relationship between Denihan Hospitality Group and the College. Many of our graduates go on to work in a Denihan hotel in key management positions,” said O’Halloran, who also noted that recent B.J. Denihan Scholarship recipient, Sandra Ryder, just accepted a full-time position as Guest Service Agent with Affinia 50, a Denihan hotel in mid-town Manhattan.
The Denihan Hospitality Group has been owned and operated by members of the Denihan family since 1963, when patriarch and founder Benjamin J. (Bud) Denihan Sr. entered into the world of hospitality by building New York’s first apartment hotel, which is today Affinia Gardens on East 64th Street. Affinia was constructed on the former site of the family’s exclusive laundry and dry cleaning business that was established in the1930’s. Today, the Denihan Hospitality Group is a leader in owning and operating luxury boutique hotels and boasts a portfolio of 15 properties in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Miami.
Bud’s legacy continues today under the watchful eyes of two of his children, co-CEOs Benjamin Patrick Denihan and Brooke Denihan Barrett. In early 2006, Patrick and Brooke consolidated ownership and continue to propel Denihan onto the national hospitality scene with the continued expansion outside of New York. Today, Denihan owns and/or manages $1 billion in assets, comprised of The James and Affinia brands, and luxury independents including The Benjamin and The Surrey, both located in Manhattan.