Font Size

content body

Font size
Whip Triplett

Whip Triplett

Months of hard work, planning and organization will all come together on Thursday, April 18, as students in the College of Human Sciences Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management get ready to host the 29th annual Hospitality Gala, the signature annual fundraising event where hospitality shines.

Held inside The Hotel at Auburn University, guests will enjoy a reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres, a formal dinner featuring distinguished chefs and winemakers from coast-to-coast, and a live and silent auction all while honoring a distinguished honoree who has a keen understanding for excellence in hospitality service.

This year’s honoree, Whip Triplett, is no stranger to Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1992 and now has spent the majority of his life in the hospitality industry.

“This is my 40th year in the hospitality industry, and while I have been recognized by other professional organizations, this one is special,” Triplett said. “It just hits me differently. Sitting in Spidle Hall all those years ago, I could have never imagined this acknowledgement from a place and group of people I love so very much.” 

The same year that Triplett graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Auburn, happens to be the same year the Hospitality Gala got its start in 1992. While things have changed in 32 years, hospitality being the focal point of the event has remained the same.

The 29th annual Hospitality Gala will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. that will include a meet and taste with world-renowned chefs and winemakers from all corners of the U.S. and a silent auction. Following the reception will be a dinner at 6:30 p.m. featuring a chef-guided culinary journey, the award presentation and a live auction. One featured chef in particular will be the hospitality management programs current Chef-in-Residence and James Beard semifinalist Ford Fry.

“Attending this event is consistently a source of immense joy as we witness our students surpassing expectations in what essentially serves as their culminating course,” said Dr. Martin O’Neill, head of the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management. “The students demonstrate excellence in every facet of planning and executing the Hospitality Gala, selflessly illuminating each year's honoree.”

This year, more than 50 students are enrolled in the Hospitality Gala class, studying event management and are fully engaged from start to finish. This planning committee is broken down into teams focused on marketing, operations and the design of the event as well as the creation of silent and live auction packages.

The planning and execution of the Hospitality Gala provides hands-on and real world experience that is hard to duplicate. The past 29 years, the hospitality management program has perfected the event to reflect what it is truly like to work in the hospitality industry.

Triplett, who currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for North Point Hospitality, oversees the operation of the company, including operations for all North Point assets, construction of current projects, and due diligence of potential development opportunities. When asked how the Hospitality Gala prepares students to begin their own hospitality career, he reiterated the importance of the hands-on approach.

"The Gala is a great stress test for everyone involved. Our industry is hands-on and the best leaders I know are hands-on. This is where that starts for our students who will be leaders in our industry one day.”

Whip Triplett

“The Hospitality Gala is the real world, and it is incredibly important to the program for many reasons,” Triplett said. “I am always excited to see the work that the students (and faculty) put into it. Our business can be tough and it is not always easy. The Gala is a great stress test for everyone involved. Our industry is hands-on and the best leaders I know are hands-on. This is where that starts for our students who will be leaders in our industry one day.”

For more information on the 2024 Hospitality Gala and to purchase tickets, click below

Link to purchase tickets