Jeffrey Schaffer, former director for the University of New Orleans’ School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration, died March 25. He was 80.
Schaffer first arrived at UNO in 1978 as a part-time instructor and over the next four decades became a professor, department chair and director. He was instrumental in developing a master’s degree program for the HRT School.
“Dr. Schaffer was an amazing faculty and friend. His legacy in the department is significant,” said Yvette Green, associate professor and chair of the Kabacoff School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration. “He believed that practical experience was crucial to student development, and he led our work experience and internship programs for several years.”
Schaffer, who was raised in Syosset, New York, earned his bachelor’s degree and an MBA in finance from Michigan State University. He worked as a financial analyst for Mobil Oil and then for Hotel Corporation of America, where he joined the management training program at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. He was transferred to the Royal Orleans in New Orleans in 1967 as the director of management services and later took on the same role for the opening of the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans.
Schaffer was the general manager of the Pontchartrain Hotel from 1970 to 1980. He also served as president of the Greater New Orleans Hotel-Motel Association and a member of the board of directors of the New Orleans Restaurant Association. In 1986, he earned a doctorate in strategic management from Virginia Polytechnic University and a year later joined the HRT faculty at the University of New Orleans.
Schaffer’s areas of expertise were hospitality strategy, law and cost control. He retired from UNO in 2017.
Schaffer loved the water and fishing from a young age, according to his family, and always enjoyed sharing his catch with friends. He was a long-time member of the Shell Beach Literary Society.
“Jeff was a mentor to our faculty who shared words of wisdom and humor,” Green said. “He always had a fishing story, and he threw the best crawfish boils. He will be truly missed.”
Schaffer is survived by his wife of 59 years, Toby Lurie Schaffer, his son Lane Adam Schaffer (Karen Rabinowicz), daughter Stephanie Schaffer Willner, grandson Leo Francis Schaffer, sister-in-law Carole Lurie Neiberg and many nephews and nieces. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to either the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation “Get Out and Fish” Program or the St. Tammany Hospital Guild.