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Ernest P. Boger II , Psychology '65, received the University of South Florida's 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award, recognizing USF alumni who have achieved the pinnacle of success in their careers.

Presented by the USF Alumni Association since 1976, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon former students for professional achievement.

A renowned pioneer and expert in hospitality and tourism management education, Boger retired in 2020 as a tenured professor and distinguished chair at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

While laying the groundwork for this contemporary discipline, he also broke racial barriers at multiple institutions, beginning with USF, where he was the first Black student and first Black graduate. He was also the first Black student to earn an MBA in finance at the University of North Texas; the first Black American hotel administrator certified by the American Hotel & Lodging Association; and the first Black professor in the University of South Carolina's Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration, among other distinctions.

Boger, who holds a doctorate in management, served as head of the Department of Hospitality Management at Bethune-Cookman University. Under his leadership, it became the first hospitality education program in Florida accredited by the Accreditation Commission on Programs in Hospitality Administration. Similar benchmarks were established with hospitality institutions in Africa and the Caribbean.

A prolific author and lecturer, Boger has published more than 100 scholarly articles and textbooks on hospitality education, marketing and tourism. His numerous honors include the American Hotel & Lodging Association's Lamp of Knowledge for dedication to hospitality education excellence. He is one of only 25 people worldwide - and the only African American - to be honored by that organization as a Certified Hotel Administrator Emeritus, a lifetime achievement recognition . Similarly, the H.B. Meek Award presented by the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education recognizes his lifetime achievement. Boger is the only African American recipient in its 75-year history.

In addition to his national and international professional accomplishments, Boger is a longtime civic leader, serving on numerous local and state boards in Texas, Maryland and Florida.