Chay Runnels, Ph.D.

Chay Runnels, Ph.D.


Position: SFA Grant Committee

Phone: 936-468-2060


About Me

A native of Nacogdoches, Chay Rees Runnels, joined the Hospitality Administration faculty of Stephen F. Austin State University in 2005. She is currently serving as the program coordinator for the Hospitality Administration Program. Her areas of interest include travel and tourism, convention and meeting planning and customer service. She received both her Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and her Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation from the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D in Forestry with an emphasis on Resource Interpretation from Stephen F. Austin State University. In 2005 she received the National Association of Interpretation’s National Graduate Fellowship, and recently authored a chapter on Industry Associations and Ratings for a new hospitality textbook from Kendall Hunt.

Prior to coming to SFA, Chay served as the Texas Forest Trail Regional Coordinator. During her tenure with the Forest Trail Region, the Texas Heritage Trails program was honored with the President’s Preserve America Award. In addition to working in heritage tourism, she has served as the director of the Hinsdale County Museum in Lake City, Colorado. In Austin, Chay worked with Preservation Texas, the Elisabet Ney Museum and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Museum.