Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy Delivers Commencement Address for UH Hospitality School Graduates

Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Line President, delivered the 2023 spring commencement address to graduates of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Global Hospitality Leadership at the University of Houston on May 12. In her speech, Duffy emphasized to graduates the importance of thinking about the future of travel and hospitality with the same importance as the future of medicine, technology, aerospace, and transportation infrastructure.

“It is an honor to congratulate this hardworking group of graduates and to welcome them, our future leaders, into the travel and hospitality industry as they embark on the next important steps in their lives and careers,” said Duffy. “The impact of travel and tourism goes beyond cruises, hotels, and theme parks. Our industry generates tens of billions of dollars of economic activity and innovation every year across technology, sustainable energy, food security and water conservation, and construction practices. It’s a big responsibility, but after talking with the students here in Houston today, my optimism for a bright future is as strong as ever.”

During the commencement, Duffy explained to graduates the importance of the travel and hospitality industries, highlighting the differences they can make in the lives of individuals. Specifically, she pointed out the economic significance of the two industries and their ability to create positive impacts in the communities they operate.


“Remember, no matter what part of the industry you choose, your work contributes to what are often the most memorable moments in people’s lives which is why as an industry we must stay diligent and focused on educating policymakers on the importance of travel,” she told the graduates. “We have a responsibility to lead beyond our own business and to set an example for other sectors in how we must innovate, improve society, protect natural resources, and create a workplace that is diverse and inclusive.”

Christine Duffy began her career in the tourism industry four decades ago as a travel agent in Philadelphia. From there, she spent a decade with Maritz Travel Company, the world’s largest corporate meeting, events, and incentive travel company. After her time at Maritz, she became the President and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), representing the $120 billion cruise industry. Finally, she became the first female President of Carnival Cruise Line, the marquee brand of Carnival Corporation. Duffy is now considered a leader in the cruise and travel industries. 

By Ethan Leckie