Cobanoglu to Continue as Director of USFSM M3 Center Full-Time


SARASOTA Fla. (March 3, 2015) – The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee announced Tuesday that Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu will extend his commitment to the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation by moving into a full-time role as Director and McKibbon Endowed Chair Professor of the center.

“I am very pleased to announce that Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu has agreed to extend his position with the University’s M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation which will enable him to focus his time and attention to the Center’s further development,” said Dr. Sandra Stone, regional chancellor for USF Sarasota-Manatee.

The M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation is a direct reflection of the university’s commitment to a community-engaged presence interacting meaningfully with the businesses and industry of our area.  The center’s applied research and the innovative Hotel Benchmarking Index project continue to position USFSM as a leader in hospitality and tourism.

“Dr. Cobanoglu’s leadership of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership (CHTL) has positioned hospitality as one of the signature programs on our campus, and it is only natural that he be the one to lead the M3 Center’s continued research-oriented, community-engaged outreach,” said Dr. Stone.

Dr. Cobanoglu will be ending his time as Dean of CHTL and as Director of the Global Engagement Office (GEO) to serve building this important outreach component of our university. Plans for identifying the next Dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership and Director of GEO will be announced soon.

“I am excited to be able to focus on my role with the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation in a full-time capacity,” Dr. Cobanoglu said. “The M3 Center is involved with exciting projects like the hotel benchmarking index and hospitality software distribution for educational purposes, and these projects deserve my full time attention. I am grateful to USFSM for the time that I spent as Dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership. We were able to accomplish so much with our students and our fantastic community partners. I look forward to having a similar impact with the M3 Center in the future.”

Under Dr. Cobanoglu’s leadership, CHTL increased enrollment and faculty productivity, added a new international certificate attracting students from Taiwan to the university, created the first study abroad session in Cruise Management and secured the largest donation in the history of USFSM to establish the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation.  The College’s Culinary Innovation Lab in Lakewood Ranch and Teaching Hotel at The Resort at Longboat Key Club have likewise been significant accomplishments in his tenure as Dean.

In his role with the center, he will continue to oversee research, special projects and major initiatives. The center grew out of a partnership with M3 Accounting Services, developed in 2012, that allowed USFSM students to gain hands-on hospitality experience funded by a transformational gift from Tampa businessman John McKibbon III’s JB McKibbon Foundation.

Mr. McKibbon believes that the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation will become the first source for sharing new tools and knowledge that will propel the hospitality industry forward.

M3 Hotel Accounting is the industry leader in hotel-specific accounting software, processing over $8 billion in financial transactions annually. The company was founded in Gainesville, Georgia in 1998 from one of the oldest and most successful hospitality companies in the industry. This experience, coupled with its software development expertise, has allowed M3 to develop an integrated suite of hospitality accounting products, including AccKnowledge, M3 Link, payroll services and document imaging, allowing hotel owners, operators and managers unsurpassed access to the information they need most.