Richland hotel owner among those inducted into hospitality program’s hall of fame

The School of Hospitality Business Management at Washington State University celebrates its 85th anniversary with the induction of several people — including a Tri-City hotel owner — into its inaugural hall of fame.

Tom Drumheller, Escape Lodging

Tom Drumheller,
Escape Lodging

Tom Drumheller, chief executive officer of Escape Lodging, which is building The Lodge at Columbia Point in Richland, graduated from the Washington State University program with a degree in hotel and restaurant administration in 1975.

He then was recruited and accepted into the Hyatt Hotel Management Training Program before venturing out on his own to establish Escape Lodging.

Drumheller serves on the college’s National Board of Advisors and loves to share what he has learned in the hotel industry with business students, according to a WSU alumni spotlight story.

“As students are about to start their careers, I suggest they identify and become friends with key mentors who are the best at what they do,” he said. “I also encourage students to not worry about the money as much as doing what they really enjoy. If they do this, the money will take care of itself.”

This month’s anniversary celebration includes dinner, dancing, a fundraiser and the recognition of hospitality school alumni and former professors. It starts at 5:30 p.m. March 24 in the Compton Union Building senior ballroom in Pullman. The public is invited.

“The event celebrates the School of Hospitality Business Management’s successful programs over the last 85 years and will raise funds to support current programs,” said Nancy Swanger, the hospitality school’s director and Carson College of Business associate dean. “External support benefits students in the classroom and prepares them for a competitive, global business environment in the hospitality industry.”

The school was established in 1932 and ranks eighth among hospitality programs nationwide. ranked the school No. 1 for best online hospitality programs in the U.S. in 2017.

Inductees include:

  • John Ascuaga, former owner and emeritus chairman, Nugget Hotel-Casino.
  • Stan Boyd, owner/winemaker, Boyd Family Winery.
  • Chris Burdett, senior vice president, CBRE Hotels.
  • Jerry Burtenshaw, chairman, ABC Services.
  • Dwight Call, retired president, Westin Hotels and Resorts.
  • Larry Culver, retired chairman/chief executive officer, Inn Ventures.
  • Tom Drumheller, chief executive officer, Escape Lodging.
  • Jerry Jaeger, president, Hagadone Hospitality Corporation.
  • Craig Schafer, owner, Hotel Andra & Inn at the Market.
  • Lothar Kreck, professor emeritus.
  • Don Smith, professor emeritus, deceased.

Registration is $85. Email Darcie Bagott at or call 509-335-5766.

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