Piedmont Partners with Classic Center Authority and Classic Center Cultural Foundation to launch Hospitality & Tourism Management Program

Piedmont College has partnered with The Classic Center Authority and The Classic Center Cultural Foundation to form a Hospitality & Tourism Management program that will be available at Piedmont’s Athens campus this fall.

The Hospitality & Tourism Management (HTM) curriculum will cater to the fast-growing hospitality industry, which has been ranked as the second-largest sector employer in Georgia and the third-largest private industry in the Athens area. It will operate within Piedmont’s Harry W. Walker School of Business.

An endowment that was established earlier this year by The Classic Center Authority and The Classic Center Cultural Foundation to support hospitality education will help fund the program.

Dr. Mark Newton, a business professor with more than 20 years of private-industry management experience, will lead the program. He retired from Gwinnett Technical College in 2016 where he was the director of the Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management Program. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Georgia.

Courses in hotel, club and vineyard management and others will be offered through the new program. Graduates will earn a BS in Business with a concentration in HTM.

“We are extremely grateful to the Authority and the Foundation for their support, and we have high expectations for our Hospitality & Tourism Management program,” said Piedmont College President James Mellichamp. “Our student-to-faculty ratio in Athens is 14 to 1, so the students enrolling in the program will receive a personalized education that will be blended with the real-world experiences they will need to launch a successful career.”

A unique feature of the program is a component that will allow students to work in The Classic Center and learn from staff there. They will also learn from industry leaders in Athens who will participate in classes, sponsor internships and shape course material.

“The Classic Center Authority and The Classic Center Cultural Foundation have been longtime supporters of workforce development efforts in and around Athens, and we are honored to partner with Piedmont College to introduce this new program,” said Paul Cramer, Executive Director of the Authority. “And The Classic Center team is thrilled to open its doors to students as the official learning lab of the HTM program. They will have a great opportunity to gain firsthand hospitality experience at the Center.”

Newton said The Classic Center partnership and others will ensure that the latest business principals and technologies are incorporated into classroom discussions.

“Like many other fields, hospitality and tourism is constantly changing,” said Newton. “Our students will be prepared for any segment of the industry, ranging from hotels and resort management to event management. Along the way, they will have the opportunity to make valuable career-enhancing professional contacts.”

For more information, see the Hospitality and Tourism Management webpage or contact Mark Newton at (770) 402-6562.


About Piedmont College
Now celebrating its 120th year as one of the most dynamic small colleges in the Southeast, Piedmont is an independent liberal arts college of more than 2,360 students. The college’s four schools—Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Nursing & Health Sciences—develop tomorrow’s leaders by engaging students in the classroom, in their community, and around the world.


About The Classic Center
Located in Athens, Georgia, The Classic Center is a multi-use conference center, performing arts theatre, multi-purpose arena and outdoor, covered pavilion hosting conventions, conferences, meetings, weddings, concerts, sporting tournaments and special events for up to 6,000 people.


About The Classic Center Cultural Foundation
The Classic Center Cultural Foundation provides resources to entertain and educate the Athens community by providing and supporting diverse performing, visual and culinary arts and hospitality workforce development programs, while working to maintain The Classic Center in a state-of-the-art condition. The Cultural Foundation established the Paul T. Martin Hospitality Education Fund in 2018 as a way to further support local hospitality workforce development initiatives.