Members of the hospitality trade are often treated by industry businesses to an evening of entertainment and refreshments known as Hospitality Night. This concept was recently borrowed by the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumni Chapter to create a new alumni event coined Hospitality Knight, which offered an evening of networking, refreshments and an educational seminar to the graduates of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

The inaugural Hospitality Knight, which attracted over 200 alumni to register for the event, was held on Thursday evening, April 12, at the Rosen College campus. Attendees gathered in the campus’ Darden Auditorium to listen to keynote speaker Robert Earl, founder of Planet Hollywood and former CEO of Hard Rock Café.

Earl’s hour-long presentation gave UCF Rosen College alumni some industry perspective through his own personal successes and failures. Earl discussed how he used the allure of celebrity and the power of public relations to help build a multi-billion-dollar empire of themed restaurants, including Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Café, Earl of Sandwich, Buca di Beppo, and more. The Hospitality Knight keynote speaker also shared how he faced bankruptcy in the past, and how his resilience allowed him to rebuild and expand his company, which included the purchase of a 2,600-room hotel in the heart of the Las Vegas strip known as the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

At the end of Earl’s presentation, the Planet Hollywood founder answered questions from the audience and greeted alumni and friends during a reception held in the campus’s Disney Dining Room.

“We are moving in a new direction in terms of college-based alumni relations in order to offer more continuing education and professional networking opportunities for our graduates,” said UCF Alumni Relations Coordinator, Shaloni Prine. “Everyone who attended had a fabulous experience and alumni are already inquiring about when we will host the next Hospitality Knight.”

During the inaugural Hospitality Knight, organizers collected canned goods from attendees, which were donated to Knights Pantry.

For more information about future alumni events and the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumni Chapter, please visit