The University of Central Florida recently celebrated the professional achievements of some of its most distinguished graduates at the UCF Alumni Association’s annual Black & Gold Gala. Among this year’s honorees were David Heckaman, ’93, an alumnus of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

Heckaman, who is now vice president of technology development for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, received the Professional Achievement Award at the gala. This honor is given to a deserving alumnus who has reached for the stars in his/her respective field.

“It’s always impressive to see the success that Rosen College alumni like David achieve,” said Dr. Abraham Pizam, dean of UCF’s Rosen College. “It’s a testament to the quality of our graduates when we can welcome them back and honor them in this way.”

Born to a family of hoteliers and inn keepers, Heckaman came to UCF with a plan – to study hospitality and become a general manager. While studying for his degree, he worked at several hotels around the Orlando airport and tourist attractions, taking advantage of the city’s status as an industry capital.

After graduation, he took on various management positions at hotels around the country, developing a passion for building new properties. When he joined the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, he took 20 years of experience in the hospitality and technology industries, becoming a leader in designing and implementing innovative data systems for large resorts.

Click here to view a short video about Heckaman.

Alumni of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management have been recognized at the Black & Gold Gala since 2006.