AcademicsFirst Memories Of Hotel Institute Montreux From 5 Academic Deans

The first time I walked through the doors of Hotel Institute Montreux...

35 years ago Hotel Institute Montreux’s story began.



We asked our past Academic Deans to look back to the first day they stepped foot into Hotel Institute Montreux and the emotions they felt when their own HIM stories began.


The first time I walked through the doors of HIM, never did I suspect that I would become the Academic Dean of the school - twice(!) and that I would one day engineer its international degree programs…

35th Anniversary

HIM is a transformative place where you meet people who will change your life. Not only did I meet my greatest mentor in Mr Dandrieux, the founder of the school, but also an amazing group of people, especially the students.


It is a little window to the world like no other.



If you embrace the experience, you earn (or teach and manage, as in my case) much more than a diploma or a degree. You build great learnings, memories and friendships that accompany you far beyond a hospitality career. What a privilege to be a part of this ongoing journey.


Happy 35 years to HIM!


Dr Jeanny Wildi, HIM Academic Dean from 2002 - 2007.

The first time I walked into HIM was in early January 2003, when I came from Los Angeles to be interviewed as a Lecturer. The campus was empty as the Autumn students had already left for internships and the Spring students were yet to arrive…

I could see immediately that the campus was special, and the staff I met were both professional and friendly.


HIM 35th Anniversary

The next few weeks were a whirlwind. I returned home to Ireland to plan my move to Switzerland, and before I knew it we were welcoming back the second, third and fourth-year students and organising induction and orientation for the new students.



The multi-cultural dimension to the student body was a revelation to me, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and engaging with the students in those first few weeks.


I take enormous pride in having been part of the HIM story, particularly in renegotiating HIM’s relationship with AH&LA, gaining revalidation with NEASC, and being the first school to undertake a formal validation process with ASEH. I value the quality of education that we delivered at HIM, and I try to echo that in my role today.


Best wishes for your 35th birthday celebrations HIM!


Dr Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin, HIM Academic Dean from 2003 - 2005.


All who enter HIM are on a journey...

Each one of us, students and staff alike, walk through the front door of Hotel Europe and become part of the HIM success story. I will never forget my first day - I was nervous, I was excited, I was slightly overwhelmed meeting new people from all over the world…it was an amazing and very special day.



I experienced genuine love and care in HIM every day. Students who respected diversity and appreciated the opportunity to be part of an International Family.


Staff who went above and beyond in their responsibilities, behind the scenes, doing the extra work that ensured our students had a supportive living and learning environment.

35th Anniversary

My journey in HIM was built on the back of, and with the support of, those around me. Ciaran who gave me my first lecturing opportunity, Jeanny, who encouraged me to take on more management responsibility and John, without whom I could not have succeeded in my role as Academic Dean.

HIM is part of me, part of who I am, and I wear my association with HIM proudly no matter where I go. All of us walk out that door in Hotel Europe to continue our journey, but we remain part of our school and part of our story forever.


Happy 35 HIM!


Ronan Fitzgerald, HIM Academic Dean from 2004-2011.

I remember the first time I walked through the doors of HIM. It was my first time seeing Montreux and visiting Switzerland…

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35th Anniversary

The journey has been equally exciting for me. From a Junior Lecturer in ‘Bar and Beverage’ to ‘Academic Dean’ and now ‘Director of Quality Assurance’ at Swiss Education Group.



The thing which I love most about HIM is its sense of community.


Still, today that feeling of warmth, care and community is stronger than ever with amazing teachers and even more amazing students.


Happy 35th Birthday HIM!


John Daly, HIM Academic Dean from 2011-2012.


On my first day walking into HIM I felt excited, nervous and apprehensive but I was greeted with the great hospitality and warm welcome that HIM is known for and immediately knew that this was a special place…

35th Anniversary

Ten years on and the warm HIM welcome is still there. Now as I walk through the doors of HIM my feelings are those of appreciation, gratefulness and pride.


Appreciation of the legacy left by previous HIM Deans and appreciation for all the collaboration and support we receive from our industry partners.


Gratefulness for the amazing team that works at HIM and whom I have the privilege of calling colleagues. And finally, pride in all the students and alumni that are part of the strong HIM family!



It is hard to tell what the next 35 years will bring but one thing is sure, having the privilege of being part of our students’ hospitality journey is priceless….and yes, HIM is still a very special place!.


Happy 35th Birthday HIM!


Ulrika Bjorklund, HIM Academic Dean since 2012 - Present.

35th Anniversary

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