Texas Tech University

Dr. Lynn Huffman's 38 Years of Impact

Associate Dean and founding faculty member of the Restaurant, Hotel & Institutional Management (RHIM) program steps into retirement

Dr. Lynn Huffman Retirement Texas TechLynn Huffman, Ph.D. arrived in Lubbock, Texas in 1980 to begin her role with the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University. With 3 young children at the time, Dr. Huffman said she was nervous like any mom might be for a fresh start in a new city.

"My husband's cousin told us that if you come and stay for two years, you will never leave. While I thought he was nuts, it turns out that he was right–at least for our family."

Dr. Huffman's first impression of the college was that everyone was friendly and welcoming, something she noted is still true to this day. Students were a joy to work with for Dr. Huffman and she helped welcome in a new wave of academic opportunity.

"My first three years here were in the Food and Nutrition department. While my degree was in Food Science and Technology, I was a Registered Dietitian, so they took me in," Dr. Huffman said. "In January 1983, the Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management (RHIM) program was approved as part of the Food and Nutrition department."

Dr. Huffman was brought on as one of the first faculty members in RHIM. After two years the program branched off from Food and Nutrition, and in turn, Dr. Huffman became the RHIM assistant program director, then program director.

"While my role was chair of my home department, I had the opportunity to simultaneously serve as acting chair for all departments in the college at one time or another," Dr. Huffman explained. "These experiences have provided insight into strengths and challenges of other programs and the opportunity to know better faculty outside my area."

Dr. Huffman led the former Education, Nutrition, and Restaurant/Hotel Management department as chairperson until January of 2009. After a few department name changes and mergers, she stepped into her current role as the Executive Associate Dean for Academics, Research and Faculty Development.

Thinking back over the years in the college, Dr. Huffman stressed that her most difficult times resulted in the best memories. Thinking back on the RHIM program development, Dr. Huffman recalls a time when she wasn't so sure the doctoral program would come to fruition. When the approval news came through, she says it felt like quite the victory for faculty and students alike.

Teaching students is something Lynn says made her remember why she took this job in the first place. One of her favorite memories with students was a particular New York trade show led solely by Dr. Huffman.

"One time I took 50 students to New York by myself! I must have been insane."

She looks back with pride on faculty members she helped hire and the accomplishments they have made for Texas Tech.

"I took my responsibility to faculty and students very seriously. Pre-tenure faculty and my graduate students became almost family. Their success became my success."

Texas Tech University also relied on Dr. Huffman's expertise in her many roles on campus committees.

"Learning how much of the university operations relies on faculty expertise has been eye-opening."

As far as her nearing retirement is concerned, Lynn is looking forward to the opportunity to spend much more time with her family and grandchildren. Not to mention, she is excited to become much less friendly with the alarm clock.

The College of Human Sciences thanks Lynn for her commitment and service to our Red Raider family. We wish her the best in retirement.

Colleagues reflect on the years with Dr. Lynn Huffman

"Lynn Huffman has had a powerful influence on so many of us during her nearly 40 years of service in the College of Human Sciences. From her role as a founding faculty member in the Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management program, to serving as a department chair, and most recently as Executive Associate Dean, Lynn's impact cannot be overstated. She has advised undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and various administrative colleagues from around the university, always providing support and mentorship. She has led several initiatives and programs through ever-changing structures and processes to help them blossom and become successful."

"For the last 10 years, Lynn has been instrumental in providing guidance to department chairs and other leaders within the college. This advice and support has helped new chairs adapt to their role and guided existing chairs through change. She has also been willing to step in and help wherever needed and provide solutions anytime a problem presented itself." 

The impact of Lynn's career extends far beyond Texas Tech University. She has been extremely active on the national and international fronts where she is frequently asked to assist hospitality management programs. Her advice has been instrumental in helping many programs to grow and thrive.

"Lynn is irreplaceable and her contributions will be sorely missed."

- Dr. Tim Dodd, Jodi Martin, Casey Carson

"Dr. Huffman has had a huge impact on our college. She has helped everybody, from faculty to staff, in some situation, at one time or another. Her guidance is often sought out and she has helped many, in good times and in bad times. Her overall impact is immeasurable as she continues to leave her imprint that will be felt long after she is gone."

-Leslie McClure

See photos from Dr. Huffman's Retirement Reception.