Michigan State University hosted the official ribbon cutting and grand opening of the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Culinary Business Learning Lab was on Friday, October 21st.
Alumni and donors of the School of Hospitality Business were invited to a special ceremony in the space the day before.
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation supplied half of the funding for the Culinary Business Learning Lab, which occupies 11,158 square feet in the garden level of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.
Renovations to the space began last Fall semester, after $4.1 million was raised to create a revitalized demonstration theater, teaching kitchens, Alumni Hall of Fame, display gallery, gathering space, and dining room.
An emphasis was placed throughout on sustainable materials and using renewable resources.
Cutting the ribbon, President Lou Anna K. Simon says the celebration goes beyond the wonderful physical facility.
“We have to prepare our students to leave here with the best network” of alumni and contacts, she says.
Further, employers need to see the attributes our students possess and know that our students will be assets in hospitality businesses.
Finally, she says, our students need to be seen as global citizen scholars, people to “who can change the fabric of their communities, their country, and the world.”
When this happens, she explains, “It will rebound back so no one will ever question why the ‘The’ is in front of ‘The School’s’ name.”
At both the Thursday and Friday events, alumni who had gathered for Homecoming weekend’s festivities and alumni board meeting were amazed at the renovation.
“It looks like the future – clean and crisp with up-to-date technology,” says The School’s Alumni Association President, John Theuer (BA ’83, MBA ’83).
And at both events, students in The School planned and prepared receptions with unique food and beverage offerings, under the guidance of Professor of Culinary Business Chef Allan Sherwin (BA ’64).
The School’s Homecoming festivities got off to a good start with the opening of the Culinary Business Learning Lab.
They continued well into Friday night when the students’ Hospitality Association float (with two “chefs” roasting a stuffed “badger”) won best float (for the second year in a row) out of 160 parade units in the Homecoming celebration.
Over 100 students, alumni, and faculty marched together with the float. The spirit was infectious.
Good omens, apparently, for the icing on the cake: an incredible last-second MSU football victory over Wisconsin in the Homecoming game.