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Friday, June 24, 2022

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From left: Melissa Rosas, Patti Roscoe, Elizabeth Levin, Angie Merz. From left: Melissa Rosas, Patti Roscoe, Elizabeth Levin, Angie Merz.

Setting the Bar High

Patti Roscoe is a model and mentor for SDSU students.

Elizabeth Levin strode into the room, dressed for success and radiating excitement.

The San Diego State student was jazzed for her meeting with Patti Roscoe, a role model for Levin and many other young women in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM).

Not only is Roscoe legendary among event managers in San Diego, she is also a co-founder of SDSU’s Payne School and chair of its board of advisors. This year, SDSU will award her the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

In 2009, Roscoe’s gift to The Campaign for SDSU helped establish the Institute for Meetings and Events and the Roscoe Meeting and Events Professorship within the Payne School. She reinforced her support for the institute and the endowed faculty position with a second gift last year.

“Patti Roscoe is an extraordinary leader,” said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. “Her innovative and strategic thinking has advanced the university and the Payne School.  From a personal perspective, I am appreciative of the sage counsel and creative perspectives she provides as a member of the Campanile Foundation board.”

Roscoe came to San Diego in 1966 and worked 10 years in the hotel industry before joining the destination management sector, which provides services as simple as a city tour and as lavish as an evening event with headline performers.

When her employer sold the business to a Chicago-based company, she created Patti Roscoe & Associates with not much more than “a small business loan, a folding table, typewriter and telephone.”

Success followed, and by the time Roscoe sold to a global organization in 2007, it had expanded to 17 franchised offices around the country and acquired the rights to franchise in Canada.

Since retiring, Roscoe has become more involved at SDSU. She serves on its philanthropic auxiliary, the Campanile Foundation, and guides the growth of the Institute for Meetings and Events, one of a handful of academic facilities offering intensive training in that discipline.

She also sponsors scholarships for two students in the MFA program in musical theatre and chairs the program’s advisory group, The Sounding Board.

Students know Roscoe as a generous donor and mentor, but what impresses them most is her professional track record.

“Patti Roscoe inspires students because of how far she has risen as a woman in this industry,” said Levin. “She set the benchmark for what we can achieve.”

Driven by a singular energy, Roscoe personally mentors SDSU students while leveraging her professional relationships to develop volunteer and internship opportunities for them in the meetings and events sector.

“The industry response to our program has been overwhelmingly positive,” Roscoe said. “When these students graduate, they have the competence and experience to step into a middle management training program.”

Levin is a perfect example. A December 2013 graduate, she is currently event management manager-in-training at the JW Marriott LA Live in one of Los Angeles’ most eventful and star-studded neighborhoods.