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Published: 15 July 2014

University commemorates hospitality and tourism pioneer

Management School renamed in honour of former Surrey professor, Rik Medlik.

The late Rik Medlik, a visionary academic who helped to shape the study of hospitality and tourism in higher education, has been recognised by the University of Surrey with the naming of a building on campus in his honour.

Formerly known as the Management School, the Rik Medlik building is home to Surrey Business School and the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. To celebrate the change, the University hosted a gathering of former colleagues, friends and family to pay tribute to Professor Medlik’s life and work.

Described in a tribute by his former colleague Professor David Airey as “a remarkable man who made a remarkable contribution”, Rik Medlik led the case for Surrey to offer degrees in the fields of hotel and catering management in the 1960s.

Subsequently appointed the first professor in the field in the UK, he also provided the first textbooks, established some of the first academic journals and led the group that set up the Tourism Society, the first professional body for tourism in the UK.

Professor Medlik was widely renowned for his modern, forward-thinking approach. This was seen in his efforts to establish links between academia and industry and in his recognition, as early as the 1950s and 60s, that the future prosperity of countries like Britain lay in service sectors like tourism and hospitality rather than manufacturing.

Rik Medlik’s legacy at Surrey lives on in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and in the range of hospitality and tourism programmes offered at the University.