Culinary Café students

The hands-on learning opportunities provided by the student-run Culinary Café at Stephen F. Austin State University were one of the reasons SFA was included in’s list of 50 Best Hospitality and Tourism Schools for 2020.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University is one of only two Texas universities included in’s list of 50 Best Hospitality and Tourism Schools for 2020.

The rankings are based on information from the U.S. Department of Education, which includes tuition costs, graduation rates, acceptance rates and student-to-faculty ratios. On-site facilities for hands-on learning and internship and networking opportunities also were considered.

“This ranking reflects how our faculty and staff strive to ensure student success through transformative experiences,” said Dr. Chay Runnels, professor and director of the hospitality administration program in SFA’s School of Human Sciences.

The undergraduate degree includes courses on food science, travel and tourism, beverage management, purchasing and facility planning. It also requires a 300-hour internship.

SFA hospitality administration students gain experience by running a reservations-only Culinary Café featuring menu themes like Cajun, Mediterranean and fusion. In addition, SFA’s student-run mobile food lab, the Lumberjack Express, just celebrated its first anniversary of service.

“There are only a few food trucks nationally that are utilized as an academic laboratory,” said Dr. Lynda Martin, director of the School of Human Sciences, which is part of the James I. Perkins College of Education at SFA. “It has been so exciting watching the students make the Lumberjack Express their own and seeing how the campus community has responded to this new learning experience.”

For more information on SFA’s hospitality administration program, email Dr. Mary Olle, associate professor in the School of Human Sciences, at For more information on’s rankings, visit