Lopes Live Labs offers training in hospitality and finance


Colleen O’Kane has served clients – and her future career – in many ways through GCU’s hospitality program and her work at GCU Hotel and Canyon 49 Grill.

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the cover article on Lopes Live Labs in the August 2021 issue of GCU Magazine. To view the digital version of the magazine, click here.

By Rick Vacek
CUU Magazine

The question was simple. The answer was complex, but Colleen O’Kane shook him from memory.

What jobs, he was asked, did you do at the GCU Hotel and its adjoining restaurant, the Canyon 49 Grill?

Colleen O’Kane is the Student General Manager of Canyon 49 Grill.

“Are you ready for this list?” It’s a bit long, ”she said.

Pull away.

“Hostess, food runner, expo, waiter, bar back, barista, receptionist, catering administrator. And now student director general.

This last role is his most important. As a GM student for the 2021-22 academic year, the senior GCU manages four administrators (catering, hiring, social media and work management).

Which means she’s gaining invaluable experience.

“I can learn what I just learned in the classroom at the restaurant, in a real environment,” said O’Kane, who manages things remotely for a few months – his GCU experience earned him a place in the Disney College Program.

“Whatever I have absorbed in class I can do while I do my job. It’s a great learning opportunity, and I can teach it to other students as well. It really creates a great learning atmosphere for everyone to get better at each year.

O’Kane learned even more by doing all of this during the pandemic. One of his roles was to lead the entire operation in one of the residences which also served as a quarantine site.

“I’m glad I was in college when this happened because I got to learn how to keep a business going during a pandemic when everyone is home and you have almost no staff.” , she said. “GCU has really helped me learn what to do.”

The new Charles Schwab Foundation financial center is located on the first floor of the Colangelo College of Business Building. (Photo by David Kadlubowski)

GCU Hotel and Canyon 49 Grill are considered Lopes Live Labs, and Dr Randy Gibb, Dean of Colangelo College of Business, calls them a classic example of GCU’s hands-on approach.

“We have a hospitality program, but we very intentionally bought the hotel, repaired it and built a restaurant to provide students with an applied learning lab,” he said.

The college was equally intentional in creating the Charles Schwab Foundation Finance Center, which is slated to open on September 16.

Made possible by a multi-year grant from Schwab Advisor Services, this will be the place where finance classes and finance clubs meet and students prepare for the Security Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, which all financial planners Certified (CFP) and other industry professionals must be successful. .

“You must have experience to get your CFP – pass the test and gain experience”, CCOB finance instructor Marc Jacobson noted. “We’re going to build a course, a walking course, to get your CFP. “

The room includes TVs tuned to stock information (“All the bells and whistles of the financial world,” Jacobson said) and four workstations. The goal is to provide focused, principle-based graduates to an industry that abounds in opportunities for skilled people.

“It’s all about credibility. It’s all about licensing, accreditation, reputation, ”said Jacobson.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


Associated content:

GCU Magazine: Creative sparks fly in Lopes Live Labs

GCU Magazine: Students dissect science in high-tech paradise

GCU Magazine: Canyon Ventures helps Lux longboards keep rolling

GCU Magazine: Students treat students at busy orthopedic clinic

GCU Magazine: New library and classroom to create “teacher leaders”

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