June 4, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The International SPA Association Foundation is pleased to announce Cornell University student Alison Harrigan as the second beneficiary of the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship. Harrigan will receive $2,500 toward her education as well as a trip to the 2009 ISPA Conference & Expo, Oct. 5-8 in Austin, TX.

“Alison Harrigan embodies everything the scholarship selection committee was looking for – she is a leader within her hotel administration program, is involved in several school organizations and has a passion for the spa industry,” said ISPA Foundation President Edwin Neill III. “We look forward to watching her thrive in the spa industry.”

When asked what the spa lifestyle meant to her Harrigan stated, “It means a variety of things, but for me it’s the opportunity to change something about yourself at that very moment. It also means finding a balance in your life which will lead you to success, and on the way there, happiness.”

Harrigan’s interest in the spa industry began when she went on a family vacation to Mexico. During the trip her father became ill, and the hotel staff was so accommodating that she was inspired to get involved in the industry. She enrolled at Cornell in the Hotel Administration program in 2006 and met her mentor, Dr. Tabacchi, when she took several of her spa courses. Harrigan has gained valuable hands-on experience in the spa industry through an internship at The Golden Door in Escondido, CA, where she saw “the impact that spa can have on people’s lives in achieving balance.” This summer she’s looking forward to interning at Mii amo, A Destination Spa at Enchantment in Sedona, AZ. Her future goals include aiding in the spa movement towards integrative medicine.

The scholarship is named in honor of industry pioneer and Cornell University Associate Professor Mary H. Tabacchi, Ph.D., R.D. “I am pleased that Allison Harrigan, who is very talented academically, as well as a student leader at her Ivy League university, was chosen for the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship. Alison personifies balance: balance with work, play, academics, leadership, health and fitness as well as a superb sense of modesty and humility. She has strong potential for being a future leader in the spa and wellness business community world wide,” added Tabacchi.

The Mary Tabacchi Scholarship was created by the ISPA Foundation to provide a permanent resource for the growth and sustainability of the spa industry. For more information on the Mary Tabacchi Scholarship visit

About the ISPA Foundation

Created in 1999 to serve the educational and research needs of the spa industry through endowments, curriculum development and scholarships, the ISPA Foundation is the nonprofit 501(c)3 arm of ISPA. The ISPA Foundation’s mission is to improve and enhance the value of the spa experience while supporting its vision of sustainable health and well-being through the advancement of spa culture. For more information on the ISPA Foundation and opportunities for involvement, please visit

Scroll to Top