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MPI and San Diego university announce first degree course

Mid and senior level professionals start studying in 2019

Paul Van Deventer 'thrilled about this opportunity'

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University (SDSU) are collaborating to create the first U.S. graduate-level degree programme on meeting and event management for mid and senior-level professionals.


Scheduled to launch in 2019, the master’s degree program will incorporate experiential learning, simulations, and industry partner mentoring, and will be delivered online with meet-ups on the SDSU campus to accommodate work schedules of students. It will be taught by a faculty who have worked in the meeting and event industry, and features guest lecturers from the industry as well. After successful completion of the program, students will be awarded a master of science degree in meeting and event management from SDSU.

In addition, a related academic certificate program for non-traditional students is also planned.

“We are thrilled about this opportunity to co-create unique and rigorous educational programming with the globally-recognized L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at SDSU,” said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI. “MPI continuously strives to bring more visibility and credibility to the meeting and event industry, and the new master’s degree and academic certificate programs are stellar examples of how we fulfill our mission.”

The MPI/SDSU academic certificate programme is slated to launch in 2019 as well. The programme’s curriculum will cover select core content from the master’s degree program, and it will be administered online with meet-ups on SDSU’s campus. The MPI/SDSU academic certificate will be presented to participants upon successful completion of the program. Participants will also earn college credits, which can be applied towards the master’s degree program if students wish to pursue that path.


“It is about time that this profession is recognized as needing high-level knowledge, skills and abilities taught in an academically rigorous and relevant manner at the graduate level,” said  Carl Winston, director, L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “This master’s degree will assist mid- to senior-level professionals in developing their skills while still employed, benefiting both themselves and their organizations.”


“This collaboration is the genesis of what could very well become a game changer in the meeting and event industry,” added Vince LaRuffa, senior VP of Resort Sales and Marketing at Universal Orlando Resort, SDSU School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Master’s Program alumnus, and previous member of the MPI Foundation Global Board of Trustees and MPI Board of Directors.

Since 2015, MPI and SDSU have worked together in partnership with Event Model Generation to present the Event Design Certificate (EDC) Program, an immersive three-day training course that teaches a systematic 10-step visual approach to event design. 




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