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Reunion 2019 Recap

Reunion 2019In April, the Providence Campus was transformed as hundreds of alumni returned to celebrate their JWU pride during Reunion weekend! Graduates from the past five decades reconnected with each other and faculty while exploring changes on campus and JWU’s evolving curriculum.

With 18 events over three days, Reunion 2019 was the biggest alumni celebration yet! The Alumni Relations team sincerely thanks everyone who attended and made the weekend so memorable, especially our Ed.D., Residential Life, TA/Fellow/MDP and fraterinty and sorority alumni.

View Reunion photos on Flickr.

View photobooth pictures from The Big Party on Flickr.

Taste of JWU


Cat Chat

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

The Office of Alumni Relations at Johnson & Wales University is proud to announce the recipients of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards. These annual awards recognize members of the JWU alumni community who have devoted their time and talent for the betterment of the university. This year's recipients will be honored at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception on Friday, April 26 as part of the Reunion weekend celebration in Providence.

Allison Pangakis '08GOLD Alumni Award
Allison Pangakis '08
Operations Manager, Newport Festivals Foundation

In recognition of her rapid rise to success, Allison Pangakis '08 is the 2019 recipient of the GOLD Alumni Award. A graduate of the SEEM program in the College of Hospitality Management, Allison has built a solid career in event management. Recently named the Operations Manager of the Newport Festivals Foundation, she is only the fourth person to hold this title in the sixty-plus years of Newport festivals and she is the first woman to ever hold the position. Allison credits much of her success to Johnson & Wales University for providing the specialized education and vast opportunities to help her achieve her goals and prosper in the hospitality industry.

T.J. Delle Donne '04, '07 MATAlumni Service Award
T.J. Delle Donne '04, '07 MAT
Assistant Dean, Johnson & Wales University's College of Culinary Arts

T.J. Delle Donne '04, '07 MAT is recognized for his deep-rooted commitment to the continued success of the university. Chef Delle Donne's collaborative spirit and foresight have helped create a synergy between Alumni Relations, the College of Culinary Arts and industry leaders. He serves as the point of contact for the College's Alumni Leaders on Campus programming, leveraging his vast network of culinary connections. He is an influential partner in the planning of Taste of JWU, a signature moment of Reunion weekend, and was instrumental in turning this event idea into a reality. As the Alumni Service Award recipient, Chef Delle Donne's leadership and active participation within the alumni community have facilitated numerous connections between fellow graduates, industry leaders, university faculty and current students. Simply put, T.J. in an invaluable member of the JWU family.

Joe Chiovera '86Outstanding Achievement Award
Joseph G. Chiovera, F.M.P., '86
President of Emerging Markets and Innovation, Buddy's Kitchen, Inc.

In recognition of the significant contributions made to his industry and the example set forth for the entire JWU community, Joseph G. Chiovera, F.M.P., '86 is the recipient of this year's Outstanding Achievement Award. With more than 30 years of food service management and marketing experience, Joe has worked with some of the most respected and notable organizations in the industry. He began his career with Marriott Food Services before joining the convenience store sector in various capacities for Sheetz, On the Run, 7-Eleven, Circle K and others. Joe's passion for food and his expertise in marketing and management led him to his current role as the President of Emerging Markets and Innovation with Buddy's Kitchen. His responsibilities include interacting with all major chains entering the clean label, organic and gluten-free arenas, and leading teams to support the airline, convenience store and co-packing industries. In addition to his professional accolades, Joe and his two sons were reality show winners on Guy's Grocery Games on Food Network.

Celebrate the successes of your fellow JWU alumni during Reunion weekend in Providence. Please join us at the Distinguished Alumni Awards reception on Friday, April 26 as we honor Allison, T.J. and Joe for their contributions and achievements. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

The Power of Partnership

Phi Sigma Kappa brothers continue to collaborate

Power of Partnership

Marc Weller '95 thinks big. Even as a student on the Providence campus, Marc was known for his legendary Around the World parties, which he planned annually for his Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. With more than 2,000 attendees, these large-scale parties required teamwork and coordination. Thinking back on his party-planning days, Marc says, "It made you realize the power of partnership."

One of those partners was fraternity brother David Andrew '93. Always the entrepreneur, David started his own DJ service as an undergraduate and would work many Greek Life functions, including Around the World. He recalls, "I learned early on that you need to be in control of the reigns, so to speak—a master of your destiny." This would not be the last business David launched, nor would it be the last time he and Marc worked together. "We've remained great friends," says Marc, "and as our careers have grown, we've found so many different ways to continue our relationship, both professionally and personally."

Fast forward 20 years and Marc, David and fellow JWU alumnus Luke Ostrom '97 have joined forces on a transformative project in the Port Covington section of Baltimore, MD. The multi-billion dollar development of the new Under Armour campus, not unlike Around the World, requires collaboration, coordination and a high level of trust among the project's partners. While Marc and David have remained close friends since their Phi Sigma Kappa days, it was only natural to collaborate with Luke. When they saw "Johnson & Wales University" on Luke's RFP response, the alliance was solidified. "Right away there was a real connection when you find that old Johnson & Wales soul," says Luke.

Each member of the team brings a different area of expertise and perspective to the Port Covington project but there is a mutual expectation of superior professionalism and diligence. The shared experience of a JWU education creates an unmatched level of confidence between Marc, David and Luke, and with a project of this magnitude, that's BIG!

*** *** *** *** ***

Marc Weller '95 is CEO & President of Weller Developments.

David Andrew '93 is Senior Vice President at Marsh & McLennan Companies.

Luke Ostrom '97 is Partner and Proprietor of NoHo Hospitality Group.

Watch the video of Marc, David and Luke discussing their careers with JWU students (Winter 2018).

Sorority Sister Strong

Reunited after more than 40 years

Alpha Pi Kappa 1968

Jean Pezza '68Jean (Pezza) MacCoy '68 wasn't used to being alone. Growing up in North Providence, her twin sister was a constant companion. But when Jean enrolled in the one-year secretarial program at Johnson & Wales Junior College of Business in 1967, she suddenly found herself on her own. As a commuter student, Jean wasn't part of the dorm life or student social scene on campus.

Rachelle Petrin '82Rachelle Petrin '82, a Massachusetts native, was a student in the medical secretarial program and also commuting to campus in 1967. She would make the drive from Bellingham, picking up classmates along the way. Rachelle was a social butterfly and quickly made friends on campus, often visiting them in the dorms.

Although Jean maintained an active schedule that included classes and part-time work in a downtown law firm, she still felt disconnected from the other Johnson & Wales students. She decided Greek life would be an avenue for meeting new people, making friends and getting involved on campus. Little did Jean know that the fall of 1967 would be the beginning of an enduring friendship with Rachelle that would span four decades.

Jean knew Alpha Pi Kappa had a reputation for giving back to the community and they were known as the top sorority on campus at the time. Always outgoing, Rachelle had already become friendly with several of the APK sisters. Another perk of APK, as Jean recalls, was that "the cutest guys on campus belonged to their brother fraternity, Mu Psi Alpha."

After independently deciding to join Alpha Pi Kappa, Jean and Rachelle met for the first time and quickly formed a lasting bond. Unsure of what she had gotten herself into, Jean questioned her ability to balance school, work and sorority life. But together, they navigated through the new member period, with Rachelle serving as a source of support, friendship and motivation for Jean. "I never would have made it without Rachelle," says Jean.

Rachelle and Jean in 1971After officially joining Alpha Pi Kappa, Rachelle became an officer and convinced Jean to serve as the recording secretary. Rachelle also persuaded a reluctant Jean to run for SnoBall Queen, helping her make a ball gown from their existing wardrobes. Jean was named runner-up.

Jean earned her associate's degree in 1968 and Rachelle followed a year later. Their friendship remained strong for the next several years and featured many trips to the beach. In 1971, they took a bittersweet trip to Cape Cod in Rachelle's Mustang. Jean was preparing to move to Florida and after four years of camaraderie and sisterhood that began as Johnson & Wales students, life was suddenly changing. Ultimately, Jean and Rachelle would lose contact with each other for more than 40 years.

*** *** ***

It's 2012 and the annual success issue of JWU Magazine has just been published and delivered to alumni. Jean Pezza, now Jean MacCoy, has just received her magazine in the mail and she begins to peruse the pages. Still living in Florida, she fondly remembers her time on the Providence campus. Jean's casual page flipping comes to a halt when she sees a photo of the Alpha Pi Kappa sorority from 1968 that features her long-lost friend Rachelle Petrin.

Overwhelmed by nostalgia and a sudden urge to reconnect with her old sorority sister, Jean begins to search for Rachelle. She eventually locates someone on Facebook she thinks might be her old friend. Jean sends a private message and waits for a reply. A few days pass and Jean continues waiting. Weeks and months go by and still nothing. As the years go by, Jean has all but given up.

*** *** ***

Fast-forward to 2016. Rachelle is being persuaded by her colleagues to use social media to share pictures of her travels. She tells her co-workers her Facebook account is deactivated, so they begin helping her through the reactivation process. After bringing the dormant Facebook account back to life, Rachelle is immediately presented with a private message from someone she hasn't seen or spoken to for 45 years. The message is now four years old but Rachelle doesn't hesitate to reply with, "Is this the Jean Pezza I used to know?"

*** *** ***

Rachelle and Jean in 2017After exchanging contact information and continuing to reconnect online, Jean and Rachelle were shocked to learn they lived only a few hours apart from each other. They immediately made plans for a reunion and spent four days together catching up, reminiscing, laughing and crying. Jean shared all of the items she kept from their Johnson & Wales days, including photos, yearbooks and their Alpha Pi Kappa sorority pin. But they also focused on living in the now, and after more than four decades their friendship didn’t miss a beat.

Jean and Rachelle continue to visit often and their sisterhood withstands the test of time. "My sorority sister of Alpha Pi Kappa has become a wonderful and supportive friend," says Rachelle. "We had some great times together at JWU and now we continue that bond of friendship."

After moving to Florida, Jean earned her bachelor's and master's degrees, launched her own business, started a family, and became a special education teacher for more than 20 years. Rachelle returned to JWU to earn her bachelor's degree in 1982 and built a solid career in the dental profession. Their long and successful careers can be directly attributed to the education, preparation and values provided by JWU. As students, they developed a strong work ethic and goal-oriented approach, and JWU instilled in them a philosophy that the only person responsible for your success is you. These ideals are institutional staples of a JWU education, even today. But JWU is also known to foster lifelong friendships and unbreakable bonds between students. Jean and Rachelle's story is a testament to all aspects of Johnson & Wales.

Looking to stay connected? JWU Alumni Connect is your tool for reaching old friends and making new ones, and continuing to be a part of Johnson & Wales University.

Project Scientist’s STEM Academy Fosters Young Scientists at JWU

GlaxoSmithKline clinical research scientist Ashley Hall speaking at JWU Charlotte

8/14/17 | This summer, Johnson & Wales University’s Charlotte Campus collaborated with Project Scientist to offer a STEM-focused summer academy for girls ages 4-12 with a passion, talent and aptitude for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This marked the first time the academy was held at JWU Charlotte.

“We love the urban location. It’s easy for parents to drop off their daughter on the way to work,” Project Scientist’s CEO and founder, Sandy Marshall, said. “We like the classroom space, the outdoor space for lunch and PE — and the technology. We Skype with STEM professionals from across the world.”

Students started their mornings in JWU Charlotte’s Hance Auditorium listening to STEM superstars, including Ashley Hall, a clinical research scientist with GlaxoSmithKline.

Hall discussed her career as a drug development scientist: “I conduct clinical trials. I study immunology medicines, medicines that work on your immune system. I also help decide whether medicines are safe.”

But first, Hall shared her 6th grade experience of having to dissect a frog — she feigned illness to avoid the rest of class.

Speaking with the benefit of hindsight, she admitted that her strategy wasn’t entirely fair to her teacher: “He worked hard to make that class happen. I now say, ‘Save the drama for your mama!’” She laughed.

Hall loved science in high school, but her math grades weren’t stellar: “If you were in a lower math class, you automatically got put in a lower science class. But I knew that I was really good at science, and it was really frustrating me that they had put me in a lower science class.”

She decided to do something about it: “I went and talked to my principal. I said, ‘I need to be moved to a higher science class.’ He said, ‘You know what? I’ll move you to a higher science class and see how it goes.’ I got an A and that enabled me to take AP Biology. So, stick up for yourself and feel empowered when you don’t think something’s right.”

Hall created a fun experiment, evaluating two types of slime for the serious disease, childhood boredom.

The budding scientists broke into groups to test Slime A and then Slime B — an interactive demonstration where they learned lingo such as placebos, coding and focus groups.

They were then asked to rate how bored they were after one minute of testing slime, with 1 being the most bored and 10 being the least. (There were a lot of giggles.)

Project Scientist students have daily interactions with female STEM role models from a variety of fields, participate in hands-on experiments and practice strategies in teamwork, resiliency and self/group motivation.

Project Scientist is already discussing a food/science week at JWU next summer that will incorporate our labs and chef instructors for hands-on learning.

Project Scientist talk at JWU Charlotte

Group work during the Project Scientist STEM Academy

Experimenting with slime at JWU Charlotte

Meet the Next Generation of Wildcat Financiers



8/7/17 | The Wildcat Investment Value Fund (WIVF) started with a seemingly simple question: “Why don’t we have a student-managed portfolio fund at JWU?”

 At the time, Associate Professor Jean Holt '94, '96 MS, '05 EdD, who teaches finance courses at JWU’s College of Business, offered a few practical reasons why such a fund wasn’t feasible, primarily the lack of a succession plan: “The university won’t give money to students who are going to graduate in 6 months. How would we keep the fund going?”

That was the spark Marquis Cooper '14 and Matt Ross '14 and their fellow Finance and Investment Academy (FIA) co-founders needed to craft a viable plan for a working fund.

Money never sleeps. That’s not the real world, you need to manage it 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Accountancy & Finance Professor Jean Holt serves as the Fund’s advisor.










From the start, they knew they wanted to mirror their fund after real-world models — thereby giving students experience with using professional data research and investment tools to conduct               real-time investing with real money. The next hurdle was creating a structure to ensure the fund’s ongoing maintenance.

In 2015, a group comprised of past, present and future FIA leaders submitted a strategic plan to JWU’s Board of Trustees that included a timeline for establishing:

  • A formalized structure, including officer roles and their responsibilities
  • The JWU Global Trading Center, a customized simulation trading platform supported by StockTrak and used to train and develop WIFV interns prior to their internship
  • A real-money portfolio
  • Experiential Education Projects in Financial Modeling (FISV 3199), a new required Finance course that embeds Wall Street Prep and other real-world analytical tools and methodologies into the curriculum



Our first mission is to steward JWU’s capital while delivering growth.”-MORA WANG '17

Money Never Sleeps: Setting Up the WIVF Internship
Shared governance was the key. Holt, who now serves as the group’s co-advisor with Assistant Professor Viviana Vilacha, emphasized that merely running the Fund under a classroom umbrella — where there is neither active management nor consistent stewardship from one academic year to the next — wouldn’t cut it: “Money never sleeps. That’s not the real world, you need to manage it 24/7, 365 days a year,” she explains. “So we created this internship umbrella scheme, where we have 5 sector analysts, a 3-member operating committee (financial model manager, a director of investment research and a chief audit & compliance officer) and a portfolio manager.”

She adds, “All of the reporting is by SEC guidelines. We don’t need to do that, but audit and compliance is such a piece of the real world and we want to make sure our internship experience is the same as if you are in the industry. We also have our director of Investment Research who oversees the analysts.”

On July 7, 2016, the WIVF officially went live by executing its first official real-money trade — they were in business!

Mora Wang '17, who served as the Fund’s 2017 financial model manager, outlines its overarching financial philosophy: “Our first mission is to steward JWU’s capital while delivering growth, whether or not markets are volatile,” she notes. “We look for stocks with strong fundamentals: book value, earnings, dividends, and cash flow, and each security’s valuation is custom tailored. Through thorough analysis, we pick securities with strong financial strength and growth potential.”

This program teaches students to practice the skills they’ll need to be the innovative industry leaders of tomorrow.”-MARQUIS COOPER '14

Underdogs Who Beat Expectations
Managing the Fund is a team effort, from the portfolio manager down to the 5 sector analysts. The core group is constantly working on leveling up their skills and improving the quality of their analytics — including integrating, a real-time data app that gives WIVF analysts 24/7 access to global market data.

Financial model analyst Mora Wang '17


Earlier this spring, the FIA hosted its 3rd Wall Street Prep intensive, a 2-day boot camp in Excel Finance Modeling and Valuation. In April, the FIA and WIVF interns attended Quinnipiac’s Global Asset Management Education (GAME), an annual finance forum that draws more than 1,400 students from colleges and universities in the US and across the world.

Although 2017 was the FIA’s 4th year in attendance, it was their first since upgrading to real-money trading — a huge difference. Sector Analyst Pauline Saintil '18 notes, “With only 11 students and having only run our live portfolio for less than a year, we were definitely considered to be the underdogs, but that’s what drives us: Knowing that we have a lot a prove, and beating expectations time and time again.” 











Mora Wang agrees: “[GAME] was the best learning and networking opportunity I’ve ever participated in. I met professionals with diverse backgrounds on the top of their fields: economists, CEOs, regulators, Wall Street analysts. It gave me deep insights about what is going on in the market, outlooks for short and long term, and the newest trends.”

Finance Leaders of Tomorrow
Looking ahead to 2018, the WIVF team intends to enter GAME’s student-run portfolio competition for the 1st time and realize a goal set 5 years ago by the FIA founders.

“I see big things for this internship in the future,” notes Austin Donaldson '18, who served as the 2017 portfolio manager. “We’ve only been around for 10 months now [but] we’ve already made leaps and bounds from where we started. I think it will be a marquee program for this school.”

FIA co-founder Cooper, who currently works as an auditing associate at Massachusetts accounting firm Gray, Gray & Gray LLP, sees Fund involvement as an incredible career stepping-stone: “This program … teaches students … to think outside the box and to practice the skills that they will need to be the innovative industry leaders of tomorrow.”

For a broader look at the founding of JWU’s Finance Investment Academy (of which the WIVF is a cornerstone), read Phil Eil’s profile, “Show Me the Money: Meet the Wildcats of Wall Street.”



JWU Student Blog: Kellie Graf's trip to the NCAA Division III Conference

03/31/2017 | JWU Providence student-athlete Kellie Graf traveled to Tennessee as a delegate at the NCAA Division III Convention. She attended lectures & legislative meetings while gaining a fresh perspective on the work behind a university's athletic department.

In January 2017, I was lucky enough to travel to Nashville, Tennessee to attend the NCAA Division III Convention as an observing student-athlete. In the weeks leading up to my departure, I was very excited but not quite sure what to expect. I knew that I would be attending meetings and sitting in on a legislative meeting. What I didn’t realize was just what an amazing opportunity it would be.

Kellie Graf's credentials for NCAA Division III Convention.

The convention was held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, which was one of the craziest places I have ever visited. I knew that I would be getting lost a lot during the weekend as soon as I was handed a map in order to help me find my room!  I was lucky to find another student-athlete to room with during my stay, which really enhanced the experience. I was the only student attending from our division, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, so I had been worried about meeting people. It was so nice having somebody there with me to discuss our opinions on the topics we had been learning about during each session.

The view from Kellie's room at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

During the first two days, I had the opportunity to attend lectures on topics such as mental toughness, the impact of social media on athletics, and many more. The session on mental toughness was particularly interesting because this is something that I believe everyone can benefit from learning about. Dr. Jason Selk led the presentation and it was fascinating to hear about his background. Selk was the director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals during their two World Series championship wins. He shared techniques that he teaches his clients. Every student who attended his session was gifted a copy of his book, Executive Toughness, so we could continue learning about optimizing performance.

A picture captured during the legislative meeting.

Attending the voting session on the last day was one of the most memorable experiences I had at the convention. During this time, athletic directors voted on the 2017 legislative proposals. As a member of the JWU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), I'd already seen these proposals because a group of JWU student-athletes gets to share their opinions and vote on them. Jamie Marcoux, JWU's director of athletics, then gathers opinions from other members and uses them to vote on behalf of the university. When we voted on the legislation at SAAC it took about 15 minutes and there was minimum discussion on the topics. Yet, the voting session at the convention took close to three hours. There was ample discussion and it was interesting to hear the perspectives of athletic faculty compared to my thoughts as a student.

My three days in Nashville were something that I will never forget and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to represent the students of Johnson & Wales University.  It was such a great time meeting other college athletes from across the United States. Overall, I left the convention with a new perspective on all of the work that goes into making college athletics the best that it can be for the student-athletes.

Explore JWU's robust offering of athletics on the JWU website.

JWU Takes First Place at Evolution of Food Waste Competition

Natasha Daniels, Samuel Burgess, VRay Holloway, Jessica Pulling, Samantha Gannon, Victor Eng and team advisor Lynn Tripp with the winning check at the RCA’s Evolution of Food Waste competition.

3/29/17 | JWU’s student culinology team won first prize at the Research Chefs Association’s new Evolution of Food Waste Student competition, held at the RCA’s annual conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

JWU Providence students Samuel Burgess, Victor Eng, Jessica Pulling, Natasha Daniels, Ray Holloway and Samantha Gannon wowed the judges with their savvy use of Brewer’s spent grain (BSG), which typically ends up in landfills, as a milled flour for their Hazlenut Doppio scone.

This was the first year for the Evolution of Food Waste competition, which the RCA designed to:

  • Provide a creative opportunity for students to network with food industry professionals
  • Challenge future R&D chefs, food scientists, product developers and culinary leaders to apply Culinology® concepts towards formulating a sustainable food product using team-selected ingredients typically considered food waste
  • Showcase RCA students who effectively reduce food costs with novel solutions
  • Offer an open innovation platform that connects fresh industry perspectives with companies progressively researching what we will be eating in the future
  • Support the start-up entrepreneurial goals of RCA student teams who aspire to enter into future competitions, and perhaps someday seek to see their fully developed food waste product enter the marketplace.

The JWU team worked throughout the fall and winter to develop their product for the competition, with faculty support from professors Lynn Tripp, MS, CFS (team advisor) and Russ Zito.

It was during work with the JBrew club under Assistant Professor Jennifer Pereira that they hit upon the idea of using Brewer’s spent grain (BSG), a byproduct of the brewing process that is often discarded as food waste. (The UK alone produces 1 billion pounds of BSG every year.)

The JWU team dove into their research, including

  • the global problem of disposing of spent grain
  • the benefits utilizing spent grain in a food product would have on the brewing industry
  • the nutritional benefits of adding spent grain back into foods

They then went to work developing a concept and then a product using the spent grain flour. After much trial and error, they came up with a flour made entirely of dried spent grain that they then incorporated it into the Hazlenut Doppio scone, a whole grain, high-protein breakfast enlivened with the flavors of toasted hazlenuts, coffee and vanilla.

The students wrote an 18-page proposal outlining their product in detail, including manufacturing the scone from frozen spent grain into the final product. They summarized the entire process in a PowerPoint presentation, then worked with College of Arts & Sciences Professor Lisa Sisco, who teaches technical writing, to render the info into a user-friendly research poster.

In San Juan, the students competed against California Polytechnic State University and defended their project in front of 3 RCA judges. The students represented the College of Culinary Arts’ new Culinary Science program — which combines the strength of our world-renowned culinary arts programs with the science of food and food production — in outstanding fashion.



The JWU team presents their Hazlenut Doppio scone. Photo: Research Chefs Association

Going with the Grain: Product poster for the Hazlenut Doppio scone


New majors for 2017-2018


Johnson & Wales continues to expand and evolve its academic offerings to provide the most relevant and impactful education possible. We are proud to announce a number of new programs for the upcoming academic year:

  • Culinary Arts (BS degree; availble on the PVD & NMI Campuses)
  • Culinary Science (BS; PVD & DEN)
  • Dietetics & Applied Nutrition (BS; PVD & DEN)
  • Global Studies (BS; PVD)
  • Global Tourism & Sustainable Economic Development (MS; PVD)
  • Hospitality Management (MBA; Online)
  • Operations & Supply Chain Management (MBA; PVD, NMI, DEN, ONL)
  • Professional Craft Brewing (Certificate; PVD Continuind Education)
  • Social Media Web Technologies (BS; PVD)
  • Sociology (BS; PVD & DEN)

We are also excited to expand the following programs to additional campuses:

  • Business Administration, including concentrations in Finance, Hospitality, Human Resource Management and Nonprofit Management (MBA; new to NMI)
  • Fashion Merchandising & Retailing (BS; ONL)
  • Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship (BS; NMI)
  • Health Science, including specializations in Health Management and Health Promotion (BS; DEN)
  • Management (BS; ONL)
JWU’s 6th Annual ZEST Awards Recognize Miami Culinary Leaders

2017 JWU ZEST Winners

3/30/17 |Johnson & Wales University’s North Miami Campus hosted the sixth annual JWU ZEST™ Awards to showcase and honor leaders in culinary arts within Miami in 10 categories.

Seven categories, including Best New Restaurant, Best Restaurant, Best Boutique Restaurant, Best Bar/Lounge, Best Wine Program, Baking and Pastry Chef of the Year, and Chef of the Year were selected by the JWU ZEST Awards judging panel, an advisory board of industry leaders and JWU’s dean of culinary education. The Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Food & Drink Influencer and Best Food Reporting were selected by community vote; and the university administration selected the honoree for the Community Leader Award, which highlights an individual or organization who has had an impact on the local community.

“We are committed to continuing to celebrate and honor Miami’s culinary leaders," said Bruce Ozga, JWU North Miami’s dean of Culinary Education. “They are the driving force behind the city’s thriving culinary landscape, which continues to impress both locals and visitors alike.”

The event, which featured food and beverages created and executed by JWU North Miami students, attracted culinary and community leaders such as Simon Bregardis (Fontainebleau Miami), Alison Burgos (SEED Food & Wine Festival), Adrianne Calvo '04 (Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar), Michelle Gaber (SEED Food & Wine Festival), Bradley Kilgore '06 (Alter), Soraya Kilgore (Alter), Gregory Pugin (Palme d’Or), Giorgio Rapicavoli (Glass & Vine) and Levi Richard (Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne).

JWU North Miami’s campus president, Larry Rice, along with Ozga, presented the awards. Wine educator, festival director and James Beard award-winning journalist Lyn Farmer was the emcee for the night.

The 2017 winners:

  • Best Restaurant: Palme d’Or, for being a local restaurant that stood out above the rest both for its delicious food and talented culinary team.
  • Best Boutique Restaurant: Alter, for being an independent, chef-owned or operated restaurant that stood out above the rest both for its delicious food and talented culinary team.
  • Best Bar/Lounge: Repour Bar, for excellence in creating the best cocktails.
  • Best Wine Program: Coya, for being a local restaurant that has demonstrated discriminating taste in offering an exceptional wine program.
  • Baking & Pastry Chef of the Year: Simon Bregardis, Executive Pastry Chef at Fontainebleau Miami, for exemplary creativity and excellence through innovative menu items and restaurant concepts.
  • Chef of the Year: Brad Kilgore '06, ALTER and Brava by Brad Kilgore, for innovative menu items and restaurant concepts.
  • Best New Restaurant: Glass & Vine, for creating a new restaurant concept and quickly garnering a loyal foodie following.
  • Reader’s Choice: Best Food & Drink Influencer: The Hungry Post, for excellence in covering South Florida’s culinary landscape.
  • Reader’s Choice: Best Food Reporting (Traditional Media): Miami New Times, for excellence in covering South Florida’s culinary landscape.
  • Community Leader: Alison Burgos and Michelle Gaber, co-founders of the SEED Food & Wine Festival, for strengthening the community through culinary efforts.

About the Awards 
The JWU ZEST Awards were created in 2012 to showcase and honor leaders in culinary arts within Miami. From newcomers to established chefs, the ZEST Awards honors all its nominees in each category for their respective accomplishments.

Each year, the event attracts chefs, culinary entrepreneurs and community leaders from across the region, including JWU alums and industry professionals, to celebrate and honor South Florida’s rich culinary heritage.

Past winners include Timon Balloo '00, executive chef of Sugarcane; award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein '94, '03 Hon.; Brad Kilgore '06, executive chef of Alter; the Pubbelly Group and Chef Allen Susser.

JWU North Miami Campus President Larry Rice with Community Leader Award winners Alison Burgos + Michelle Gaber, co-founders of the SEED Food & Wine Festival

JWU Alumni Garner 2017 James Beard Award Nominations

Chef David Kinch of Manresa preps with JWU students

02/15/2017 | The James Beard Foundation has released its much-anticipated list of 2017 James Beard Award semifinalists (chef categories) — and JWU alumni are well-represented.

Every year, the list celebrates the best and brightest restaurants, chefs and front-of-house teams the American culinary scene has to offer.

Mark Ladner '90, '15 Hon. and David Kinch '81, '14 Hon., both of whom have been awarded honorary doctorates by JWU, were nominated in the Outstanding Chef category.

Denver alum Brad Kilgore '06 of Alter and Brava received a nod for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

Nicks on Broadway’s Derek Wagner is a second-time semifinalist for Best Chef Northeast (he had previously garnered a nomination in the Rising Star category).

The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominations for Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media, and Restaurant Design Awards, will be announced on Tuesday, March 15.

The 2017 Awards Gala will be held at Chicago’s Lyric Opera on Monday, May 1.

2017 Semifinalist Nominees

Outstanding Chef

David Kinch '81, '14 Hon., Manresa

Mark Ladner '90, '15 Hon., Del Posto

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Kelly Fields '02, Willa Jean, New Orleans

Outstanding Restaurant

Frasca Food & Wine, Denver (Ian Wortham '12)

Outstanding Wine Program

Emeril’s New Orleans (Emeril Lagasse '78, '90 Hon.)

Fig (Adam Nemirow '00 MBA)

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Bradley Kilgore '06, Alter

Jenner Tomaska '10, Next

Best Chef: Northeast

Cassie Piuma '02, Sarma

Ben Sukle '08, Birch

Derek Wagner '99, Nicks on Broadway

Best Chef: South

Vishwesh Bhatt '99, Snackbar

Best Chef: Southeast

Joe Kindred '02, Kindred

Kevin Johnson '96, The Grocery

Erik Niel '00, Easy Bistro

Andrew Ticer '04 and Michael Hudman '04, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen



Warm oysters with apple and caviar

Daniel Garcia '14 and the Road to the 2017 Bocuse d’Or


2/6/2017 | JWU Providence alum Daniel Garcia’s road to the 2017 Bocuse d’Or in Lyon — widely acknowledged as the foremost culinary competition in the world — began last year, when he assisted fellow NoMad cook Vincenzo Loseto at the prestigious Ment’or BKB Young Chef competition. The duo won first place for their veal pavé with black truffle, sweetbread-stuffed morels, asparagus and snap peas.

That win secured both chefs spots as part of Team USA, led this year by Per Se veterans Mathew Peters and Harrison Turone. On Instagram, Daniel — a 2014 graduate of JWU’s Providence Campus — expressed gratitude to his NoMad mentors, including fellow JWU alum and Executive Chef James Kent '02: “We couldn’t have done it without the day-to-day guidance of Chef Kent, Chef Brian Lockwood and the entire NoMad team. It’s an amazing honor — can’t wait to work alongside Team USA for the 2017 Bocuse d’Or.”

Team USA had a lot riding on the 2017 competition. The Bocuse has traditionally been dominated by European teams, but Team USA started making inroads in 2015, when Phillip Tessier and his Commis (assistant) Skylar Stover secured second place. This year’s team leads, Mathew Peters and Harrison Turone, took an entire year off to train for the competition.

Reliving the event on Instagram, it’s crystal-clear how much was at stake for Team USA. So, too, was their absolute elation over the hard-fought win — the first American victory in the competition’s 30-year history. (As Team USA President Chef Thomas Keller told the NY Times, “I promised Monsieur Paul [Bocuse] 10 years ago that we’d make it to the top of the podium. We made it in nine.”)

After the competition, Daniel and the entire NoMad team headed to the Alps to cook at the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. Congratulations, all!


re-CONNECTED Exhibit Showcases Engineering & Design Alumni

ReCONNECTED day/night view of the gallery

1/17/17 | The work of 21 alumni of JWU’s School of Engineering & Design will be on view in the gleaming new gallery of the John J. Bowen Center for Science and Innovation through May 4, 2017.

The show, titled “re-CONNECTED,” marks the gallery’s official grand opening, as well as JWU’s first-ever juried exhibition of alumni design work.

At the recent opening night party, alumni, faculty and current students milled throughout the gallery, taking in the diverse array of works, touring the new building and catching up over wine and hors d’oeuvres.

While the show began with an open call to alumni for submissions, the final pieces were chosen by a committee drawn from across the university; pieces were picked as much for their sheer visual impact as for the wide range of media, personal perspectives and the inspiration behind the work. (The majority are annotated with a personal note from the creator.)

The show is fairly evenly split between design pieces done for work or for spec, and more personal or purely creative work.

Kyle Brennan '15, Andrew Calipa '13, Annie O’Reilly '13 and Damian Orellana '16 presented logotype and branding work featuring bold type,  luminous colors and thoughtful design solutions.

There are vintage-inspired t-shirt designs (Jimmy Nutini’s “Rhode Island: Biggest Little State,” created for Teespring’s Graphic Design Team Tee of the Month); riffs on classic Saul Bass posters or Italian liqueur ads (Edzer Roukema’s playful posters); and even low-relief wood assemblages (“Geometric Panda” by Sandra Ristau '16).

School of Engineering & Design Dean Frank Tweedie, Executive Director of Alumni Relations Kevin Wesley and Health at Leidos SVP Strategy & Business Development Karoom Brown '00 conclude the evening with brief remarks about innovation, growth and the importance of staying connected. (As a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer for SOED, Brown had spent the afternoon visiting design classes and touring campus.)

Design professor Karyn Jimenez-Elliott’s photographs from opening night show off the bright, spacious gallery and the great turnout of alumni, faculty and current students eager to see the work of their students and peers.

What’s next for the gallery? In late spring, watch for the annual Portfolio Review and exhibit of Engineering & Design student work.

Gallery installation, day view

Assemblages by Sandra Ristau '16

Re-CONNECTED gallery visitors



Kyla Covert '10 with her anime illustrations

Olivia Brown '14 with her poster work

Gallery details, l-r: Edzer Roukema '15, Diandra Sarno '13, Andrew Calipa '13, Annie O’Reilly '13, Andrew Calipa '13 and Kyla Covert '10

Danikqwa Rambert '15 in front of her piece titled “Let’s End Police Brutality.”

Karoom Brown '00 chatting with alumni

Karoom Brown '00 speaking with Associate Provost Lily Hsu and others













Honoring Chancellor Emeritus Morris Gaebe (1920-2016)

A tribute of red roses in memory of JWU Chancellor Emeritus Morris Gaebe.

10/12/2016 | The Johnson & Wales University community is deeply saddened by the passing of Morris Gaebe '98 Hon., JWU trustee emeritus and chancellor emeritus.

“Mo,” a longtime resident of Barrington, RI, died on Saturday, October 8 at the age of 96.

A Transformational Leader

If Miss Johnson and Miss Wales firmly established JWU’s legacy of entrepreneurship, then Morris Gaebe laid the groundwork for JWU as an institution. It is his mantra — “students first” — that continues to guide his successors, and all of us today.

Relocating across the country to purchase a business school and form an untested business partnership takes a big leap of faith. Gaebe’s ability to trust his instincts and take smart risks characterized his long, distinguished career at Johnson & Wales — first as co-director with Edward Triangolo, then as president (1969-1989) and finally chancellor.

Entrepreneurial Beginnings

Gaebe’s legacy is fundamentally linked to that of Triangolo. In 1947, the two Navy buddies purchased Johnson & Wales Business School.

Triangolo, Gaebe and their wives, Vilma and Audrey, worked tirelessly to grow the school and handle business “on a shoestring” — including teaching classes, managing the office and even keeping the building clean.

When enrollment dipped, the two entrepreneurs scrutinized the classifieds and researched job data, intent on anticipating “the jobs of tomorrow.” And they responded quickly, restructuring programs and adding courses that would catapult graduates into high-demand careers.

Expanding the Institution

In the 1950s, their approach began to gain traction. By 1952, the school had doubled in size, and in 1954 it earned national accreditation by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

The principle accomplishment of the Triangolo-Gaebe administration was to become a more mainstream institution. By broadening the curricula, achieving accreditation and formalizing the leadership structure, they turned a fledgling school into a bona fide establishment.

Gaebe in his office at Johnson & Wales.

Gaebe in his office at Johnson & Wales.

New Programs, New Horizons

That fact alone would cement Gaebe’s legacy. But his prescient instincts also led him to pursue programs like culinary arts and hospitality — and later equine — that might have seemed foreign at the time, but ended up having a major impact on the university’s scope and reputation.

After establishing the hospitality program in 1972, Gaebe, Vice President Yena and Director of Admissions Manuel Pimentel Jr. began to see a growing need for high-end culinary and food service education. But the board was skeptical, approving the program only after stipulating an initial minimum of 80 applicants.

In 1973, 141 students reported to orientation. By 1983, enrollment had climbed to 3,000. Forty years later, JWU’s culinary programs are world-renowned.

Innovative Course Delivery

During the 1980s, JWU — then referred to as J&W — made significant strides in carving out its niche as a leader in career education.

The college focused on offering programs that were not available in traditional liberal arts schools, instituting concepts like the 4-day class week, which allowed students to work on Fridays and weekends, and the "upside-down curriculum," which let students take classes in their major from day one. Weekend enrollment was also initiated to help meet the needs of nontraditional students seeking degrees.

Gaebe at Commencement with his wife, Audrey Klee Gaebe.

Legacy of Smart Risks and Strong Leadership

It’s almost impossible to imagine how much JWU changed under Gaebe’s leadership. In 1947, when he and Triangolo purchased the school, it had roughly 100 students.

By 1980, Johnson & Wales had become the fastest-growing college in RI, and in 1988 — when J&W officially became Johnson & Wales University (JWU), the fledgling school that began with one typewriter and one student now owned $44 million in property statewide and had overtaken Brown University in enrollment.

“Gaebe laid the groundwork for the institution that exists today,” noted John Yena. “He helped create the prospect for JWU to become a driving force in Providence’s Renaissance.” As Gaebe himself would say, “You don’t get ahead without sticking your neck out a little.”

Gaebe at Commencement with his wife, Audrey Klee Gaebe.

Life Dedicated to Service

Outside of JWU’s walls, Gaebe was a dedicated family man and equally devoted civic leader.

For 66 years, he was the husband of Audrey Klee Gaebe, until her death in 2008. He guided the formation of the character of his 4 sons, who, like him, were all Eagle Scouts.

In 1978, he and his son Geoff acquired land in Burrillville, RI, to create Addieville East, a pristine hunting and fishing preserve that today encompasses more than 900 acres and has been recognized for its outstanding conservation programs.

In 1980, he was inducted to the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame. As an avid supporter of Junior Achievement of Rhode Island, the Morris J.W. Gaebe Profile in Excellence Award, the highest honor bestowed by the organization, was established.

The Gaebe name can be found throughout JWU’s 4 campuses on buildings, green spaces, scholarships, and history. The radiance of the man we knew and revered will continue to illuminate JWU’s journey.

Chancellor John J. Bowen '77, Gaebe '98 Hon. and then-Providence Mayor Joseph R. Paolino in the early years of the city’s urban revitalization.

Chancellor John J. Bowen '77, Gaebe '98 Hon. and then-Providence Mayor Joseph R. Paolino in the early years of the city’s urban revitalization.

Morris Gaebe is survived by his sons and their wives, Dana (Beth), Greg (Vicki) and John (Bonnie) and by his daughter-in-law, Paula Gaebe, and by his sister, Priscilla Doelling (Robert). He was predeceased by his son Geoff and his brothers, Kenneth and Herbert B. Gaebe. He leaves 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Gaebe Eagle Scout Scholarship Fund at Johnson & Wales University, 8 Abbott Park Place, Providence, RI, 02903, or to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 191 County Road, Barrington, RI, 02806.

New alumni website

10/1/2016 | Johnson & Wales is very excited to present to you its new website for alumni. Full of helpful resources, breaking news and easy ways to stay connected, it has everything a Wildcat or Griffin needs! Let’s take a quick tour.

Alumni screen shot

The alumni homepage is your main go-to for anything and everything – you might want to bookmark it! This is where you’ll find the most recent news, major events and social media feeds (click any post to follow us on that platform). There are also links to several great new sections – News, Events, Services, Career, Volunteer and Giving – as well as ways to contact the university and to log in to the all-new alumni portal. Let’s go through each section.

News screen shot

Johnson & Wales is doing so many great things: Changing the Way the World Eats™, winning athletic championships and so much more. The NEWS blog is where you can read about the most current happenings on each campus and across the university. You can also catch up on issues of the JWU Alumni e-newsletter and JWU Magazine.

EVENTS now has 3 boxes highlighting the biggest upcoming events (like reunions and homecomings), but also provides information and registration about all scheduled JWU Alumni events. Just scroll through the months to see everything in a new, easy-to-read format that includes more detail than ever before. Don’t forget to check out the photos from past events!

Events screen shot
The SERVICES tab is a mix of cool perks and helpful links. Whether you need a copy of your transcript or want to buy a new JWU hoodie, this is the place. 

Services screen shot

CAREER is a new section designed to provide help you continue to grow professionally throughout your life. We know that forging a successful career is challenging, and we want to assist in any way we can. To that end, this page can help you:

  • Make online connections with alumni in similar lines of work.
  • Remain at the forefront of your industry by viewing topical professional development presentations and publications.
  • Build a relationship with a mentor or become a mentor.

Career screen shot

JWU students epitomize pride, courage, character and community, and so do our alumni. Hundreds of alumni volunteer their time and talent in ways that benefit Johnson & Wales, and hundreds more donate financially. The VOLUNTEER webpage lets you raise your hand to help out your alma mater, most commonly through admissions efforts, on-campus discussions and mentoring. It is also where the university thanks its alumni volunteers!

Volunteer screen shot

Monetary donations from alumni are critical to the continued success of the university and, thereby, the value of your degree. The GIVING site explains the need for such philanthropy, shows its impact and makes it easy to make a gift.

Giving screen shot

The JWU Alumni portal is an exciting new microsite only accessible to JWU graduates, faculty and staff. Featuring a directory with excellent search capabilities, this is the best way to keep current with your classmates. See where your friends are living and working, or make professional connections with alumni you don’t yet know. Send them messages, participate in discussion threads or get involved with mentoring. Make sure to update your information as well so that others know what you’re doing these days! You can also upload photos which will automatically sort based on your class year and be viewable to the people you graduated with. The portal also includes a link to submit Classnotes, which we can print in JWU Magazine; complimentary access to research databases previously only available to students, and much more.

alumni portal screen shot

We hope you like the new website! Please feel free to provide feedback, as the site is all about you!

Meet the 2016 Emeril Scholars

2016 Emeril Scholars9/26/2016 | Since 2003, Johnson & Wales University has partnered with Chef Emeril J. Lagasse '78, '90 Hon. to raise money for student culinary scholarships. Since then, the annual Emeril Golf Classic has become a signature university event that benefits the Emeril Lagasse Endowed Scholarship Fund.

This year, 12 College of Culinary Arts students — chosen from the university’s 4 campuses in Providence, RI; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, NC — were awarded scholarships.

Meet the 2016 Emeril Scholars:


  • Genoa Donaldson '17: “My favorite part of JWU is the opportunities I have been given to network. Working with both the Club of Culinary Excellence and the ACF Student Team has allowed me to participate in many culinary events around the Providence/Boston area.”
  • Emily Rondeau '17: “Prior to attending JWU, science was not one of my favorite subjects, despite wanting to go into nutrition. However, the teachers here have made science interesting and accessible, and I’m really appreciative of that.”
  • Caroline Snyder '17: “The faculty really wants to see you succeed. I came to JWU having no real experience in the field of baking & pastry. From day one, they broke down the basics. JWU has given me the training needed to work at a 5-star hotel in Ireland (The Merrion).”


  • Sephora Dubreuze '17: “I grew up mainly eating Haitian food. At JWU, I have learned about and prepared dishes from all around the world. I also really enjoyed the dining room courses [for giving me] insight on the front of the house. I plan to open my own restaurant one day, so it's important that I learn all aspects of the restaurant.”
  • Yessica Marleny Perez '17: “Receiving this scholarship has been a blessing to me and my family. So much has been sacrificed for my education, and thanks to this scholarship the financial burden is eased.”
  • Keonna C. Yearwood '18: “I went to a trade high school where I started my culinary dream. I had instructors who were all alumni of JWU, and they were the best chefs I knew. It was through their recommendations that I decided to come to JWU.”


  • Ricca Chelsi Dadulla Palero '18: “So far my favorite part about studying at JWU has been the hands-on experience and overall learning from the chefs that are leaders in the culinary industry.”
  • Ashlee Redger '17: “It took a lot of work to get where I am, but I honestly couldn’t have gotten here without financial aid. JWU is my dream school and I’m very grateful for everything that has allowed me to be here.”
  • Mia Kianni Williams '17: “After graduating from JWU, I hope to travel back home to Hawaii and eventually open my own restaurant. I want to make a mark in the culinary world and usher new cultural changes to American food.”
  • Matthew David Zoe '17: “After grad school, I’d like to work with medical facilities, retirement homes, or schools to create responsible menus that are nutritious for each patient, resident, or student.”


  • Kiara Patrice Whitehead '17: “My favorite part about studying at JWU is learning in both the baking & pastry lab and the classroom. Once I gain a sufficient amount of experience, I plan on starting a cupcakery with ... one of my best friends. We’ve been talking about starting this business since our freshman year and would love to turn our dream into reality.”
  • Chayil A. Johnson '17: “My experiences at JWU have been some of the best of my life. I love that JWU provided the opportunity to challenge myself outside of the classroom. I grew a lot during the three month internship, and I now have a lot of things to build off of it.” Johnson received a New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) scholarship. JWU has been a longtime supporter of NOCCA, which is a unique 4-year high school culinary arts program for aspiring chefs. NOCCA’s Culinary Arts program was developed in collaboration with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and is supported by JWU’s College of Culinary Arts, which created the first-of-its-kind curriculum for high school students.

Chef coat autographed by Emeril

How JWU Denver students built a vegetable garden from scratch



8/8/2016 | As Executive Vice President of JWU Denver’s Student Government Association (SGA) — as well as a culinary nutrition student — Jasmine Smith '16 is always looking for ways to improve the campus experience for students.  Starting a sustainable garden on campus required funding, volunteers and willing student gardeners — as well as a strategic foundation to support its ongoing maintenance. Jasmine explains how she and the SGA kept the project moving forward:

JWU’s Denver Campus has had a student-run garden a few times since it opened in 2000. Motivated students would lead the project and get everything set up, but it would fall apart when they left JWU.

The challenge was to convince the school that things would be different this time — that we could create a sustainable garden for the entire community to use. The SGA organized a strategic plan to ensure the project’s success.

We did not want to start a club. (Clubs had been started to run the previous iterations of the garden and they almost always fizzled out.)

We decided to bring a group of organizations together to oversee maintenance. For example, the Culinary Storeroom is maintaining the garden beds over the summer. And we appointed a new Sustainability Senator to help find educational purposes for the garden.

The Culinary Storeroom’s teaching assistants built the 3 garden beds and filled them. During this process, I contacted 2 local restaurants for any type of donations. Fruition Farms (run by Chef Alex Seidel and Jimmy Warren) and Black Cat Bistro (run by Chef Eric Skokan and his wife Jill) offered their help.

A group of us headed to Fruition Farms to volunteer our time and learn their gardening methods. In return they donated an assortment of seeds; the farmer was kind enough to sprout some of them for us.

Black Cat Farms was able to donate their 3-year-old compost. A few of the teaching assistants drove to the farm to pick up the compost and were given a farm tour. As a thank you for their true hospitality we created signs to be hung on the side of the garden beds.

Each year we invite a group of 11-15 year-olds to campus to learn basic cooking. This year we were able to offer an extra afternoon session to teach them about nutrition and where our food comes from. This was a great opportunity for us to use our garden for education. The students learned about

  • The basics of organic gardening.
  • Different types of soils.
  • Compost and vermicompost.
  • Companion planting.
  • Sustainability.

The goal of this garden is for Johnson & Wales University students to be more connected to food by participating in activities that expand their food knowledge, as well as support lessons in sustainability and the work that goes into producing quality food.

My biggest honor in all this is knowing that JWU trusted our plan, in particular considering this project had been attempted before.

It has also been incredibly rewarding to connect with the other restaurants and farms that helped us kick-start the garden. Both executive chefs who donated were past JWU Denver Distinguished Visiting Chefs, and it’s been fantastic to see them continue their participation with JWU. They have invited us back to their farms to continue to learn techniques.

JWU Denver student Jasmine Smith harvests greens from the Denver Campus garden.

No butts about it; All 4 JWU campuses now tobacco-free

JWU Providence Campus President Mim Runey (L) with Director of the RI Department of Health Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott (R)

JWU Providence Campus President Mim Runey (L) with Director of the RI Department of Health Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott (R)

7/5/2016 | As of Friday, July 1, 2016, all 4 of Johnson & Wales' campuses are officially tobacco-free. Faculty, staff and students assembled on the lawn in front of the Yena Center on JWU's Providence campus to celebrate becoming the first university in Rhode Island to become tobacco-free, joining approximately 1,100 other colleges and universities across the country.

Attendees heard from Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Ron Martel, JWU Providence Campus President Mim Runey, Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, and Edyn Zapata, JWU Providence's Student Government Association secretary.

“This is a historic and memorable day for JWU as we celebrate the first day of being tobacco-free,” Martel said.

Instituting a tobacco-free policy across all of JWU's campuses didn't just happen overnight. This undertaking first began 3 years ago when President Runey put a concerned student in touch with the university's student affairs office and things began taking off from there.

“This journey has been a little bumpy,” Runey admits, but notes that “the benefits will be many,” including healthier, cleaner, safer and happier campuses.

A sign on JWU Providence's Yena Center declaring that Johnson & Wales is tobacco freeA sign on JWU Providence's Yena Center declaring that Johnson & Wales is tobacco-free

“I want to offer a big, heartfelt thank you and congratulations,” Alexander-Scott said. “Thank you for being a leader and setting an example for other colleges and universities to follow. There's nothing like being able to say you're the first [in Rhode Island]!”

Meanwhile, in Denver...

JWU's Denver campus also celebrated going tobacco-free that day. Faculty and staff joined together to collect cigarette butts across campus during their “No butts about it” event.

“This is a major step forward for the [Denver] campus and for Johnson & Wales as an institution,” JWU Denver Campus President Richard Wiscott said in a Facebook Live appearance on Friday. “I am so proud that now all of us together are supporting this important initiative.”

Volunteers donned blue protective gloves and took off to different corners of campus to collect discarded cigarette butts. 

Four campuses, one university; all tobacco-free

JWU Providence and JWU Denver now join North Miami and Charlotte as tobacco-free campuses. JWU Charlotte, the first campus to implement this policy, did so on July 1, 2015, with JWU North Miami following suit on December 1, 2015.

Information about Johnson & Wales' tobacco-free policy (which includes electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco), campus maps, and tobacco cessation resources can be found on JWU's tobacco-free website.

Edible education: JWU North Miami’s Garden of Eden

Pickling eggplants in JWU North Miami’s Edible Garden.


6/28/2016 | Hidden behind the College of Culinary Arts at JWU’s North Miami Campus is a lush oasis filled with more than 100 species of fruits, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. 

But this edible garden isn’t just a space for taking a study break or carving out some calm between classes (although it’s that, too.) It’s a mini-farm and a teaching garden where culinary students not only learn about exotic species like jackfruit, achiote (from which annatto is derived), açai palm, sweet edible bamboo, apple banana and jabuticaba, a grapelike fruit native to Brazil — they gain an understanding of organic gardening and the growing cycle, all while boosting their culinary creativity.

Beyond the exotica, the garden is also home to farmer’s market staples like eggplant, heirloom tomatoes and peppers, Swiss chard and zucchini.

Chef Chris Wagner '07, MEd, WGMC, calls himself “one of the instigators” of the garden. As director of Culinary Operations in North Miami, he oversees the on-site storerooms that supply the culinary classes with a steady supply of meat, produce, cheese and dairy products.


The first incarnation of the garden was established in 1992 by then-President McGregor. Much more minimal than today’s version, it was also poorly signed and featured only edible herbs and plants (no fruits or vegetables).

When Hurricane Wilma killed off the garden in 2006, Dean of Culinary Education Bruce Ozga '92 and Wagner saw an opportunity to start fresh. They put together an ambitious plan and an even more ambitious budget: “We asked for a lot of money but we got it. We hired a landscape architect,” explains Wagner.

Their vision was wholeheartedly supported by North Miami Campus President Larry Rice, EdD, '90 who saw the garden’s value as an educational tool. “This initiative for an edible landscape stresses the importance of local farming, the value of the farm-to-plate process and the impact that freshness has on taste and quality when cooking,” notes Ozga.

"Being able to grow year-round is magical. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”-Chef Wagner

Chef Wagner and students working in the Garden.

Chef Wagner and students working in the garden.

President Rice, who became a vegan more than 4 years ago, sees plant-based eating as one solution to the US’ staggering rates of obesity, Type II diabetes and heart disease, among other diet-related health issues.

“A greater level of awareness is spreading worldwide as it relates to the health benefit of reducing the amount of animal protein that we consume, and supplementing with alternative meats. As more people recognize this as a solution, they will begin to enjoy the alternative products available,” Rice notes.

Wagner calls the garden “my baby.” “For me, coming from Central Europe, being able to grow year-round is magical. It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he notes. “It’s amazing what you can grow without chemicals, just homemade compost and letting nature do its thing.” He adds, “We compost everything — I have a great relationship with the facilities guys. Miami’s Worm Whisperer has consulted us and helped us get our compost done correctly.”


Students start their edible education in class titled Storeroom Identification: “This is where we really get them out there — we show them what ginger looks like, how vegetables really grow,” explains Wagner.

On Fridays, when culinary classes are generally not in session, Wagner leads Garden Days where students help him harvest peppers, kale, tomatoes and anything else at peak ripeness. “If students want something, I show them how to do it.”

As the garden — and student involvement — grew, the local press began to take notice. In 2015, the Miami New Times’ Hannah Sentenac wrote an article titled “JWU Leading the Way with Plant-based Cuisine,” in which she positioned JWU as “looking to get ahead of the game” by incorporating plant-based or meat-minimal diets into its curriculum. She wrote about the weekly demos where students could learn how to use alternative proteins like seitan, tofu and nut-milk cheeses.

Wagner, who has transitioned to a mostly vegan diet over the past 4 years, spoke to Sentenac about practicing a “protein flip” when he plans out meals for school functions. Menus start fully plant-based and gradually a minimal amount of meat, fish or dairy is added for the guests who are carnivores. “Before, it was the other way around, you based everything around meat. Now I’ve flip-flopped that.”

For a recent Honorary Doctoral Recipient (HDR) dinner for Paul Damico '86, the group president of FOCUS Brands North America, Wagner and his team “made homemade tofu from scratch, which is quite labor intensive but delicious. We grilled the tofu with an orange glaze — it tasted so good and nutty.”

Increasingly, students, faculty and staff are joining Wagner in reducing the amount of meat, eggs or dairy they consume.

The garden is home to more than 100 different species of edible fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The garden is home to more than 100 different species of edible fruits, vegetables and herbs.


Last April, the North Miami Campus hosted its first-ever vegan pop-up restaurant, fully conceived and run by students in the Food Service Operations Management [FSM4061] class. In addition to harvesting the bulk of the vegetables and fruits from the garden, Hungry Bull team set 3 school records: the most seatings, the fastest turnaround, + the most turnaround in the history of the class. Of the 100 guests, 93 were satisfied non-vegans.

More recently, the garden was the setting for the “Primitive Dinner,” an outdoor feast highlighting the versatility and deliciousness of vegan cuisine.

Guests of honor included:

  • Gene Baur, co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary
  • Jacey Birch and Trent Aric, ABC-WPLG News
  • Julie Frans + Alison Burgos, SEED Food & Wine Festival
  • Laine Doss, Miami New Times food writer
  • Lawrence Krug + Sandy Pukel, Holistic Holiday at Sea

It was Baur’s second visit to the garden, but first sit-down dinner showcasing its bounty. “Gene picked an eggplant from our garden, and was eating it 10 minutes later!” notes Wagner. (Talk about reducing the dinner’s carbon footprint.)

Doss documented the meal on Instagram using the hashtag #tastetherainbow. (Dishes included truffled popcorn, braised carrots with blue potato chips, and grilled king oyster mushrooms.) Afterwards, Birch tweeted, “Such a great group of forward thinkers and I loved meeting 1 of my animal heroes: GENE!”

"The Edible Garden connects people to their food in a healthy way that empowers citizens to eat + live better.”-Gene Baur

“The external community has a great deal of interest in the garden,” says Wagner, who offers regular tours and also opens up the garden during the annual Food Day. “I also get invited to events, like Slow Food Miami’s Freshest Night Out.” (Wagner received a Snail of Approval Award for his dedication to food that is healthy and good for the environment.)


What’s next? Plans are underway to further align the culinary curriculum with the garden. Notes Rice, “We are currently exploring degree programs related to nutrition and food sustainability, which will enhance our ability to educate our students.”

In addition, the garden may expand to better support academics. “Our priority is not only to sustain what we currently have, but to expand on it by allocating more space for future programming initiatives,” says Rice. “My hope is that we will find a partner that can assist us in bringing a greenhouse to campus, which will provide even more opportunities for teaching and learning.”

Wagner is also actively looking for 5 acres that could serve as an off-site “teaching farm.” “We have an ambitious plan to produce between 70-80% of the fruits and vegetables that we use in classes,” he notes.

The garden’s evolution is win-win for JWU, for students — and for the community, particularly as programming expands. Notes Farm Sanctuary’s Baur, “North Miami’s Edible Garden connects people to their food in a healthy way that empowers citizens to eat and live better.”

Be kind, pursue happiness: Career advice from Leslie Ferrier '90

Leslie Ferrier '90, vice president of human resources for Momofuku

As the vice president of human resources at Momofuku, Leslie Ferrier '90 is charged with ensuring that David Chang’s rapidly-growing food and media empire is a supportive, positive place to work. Read on for her hard-earned advice gleaned from an eventful 25 years in the business.

6/13/2016 | Back in 1990, I was 76th on the wait-list to meet with Hilton Hotels Corporation during on-campus recruiting at Johnson & Wales’ Providence Campus. That meant 75 people had to lose interest or leave the planet for me to get a shot at an interview. With that knowledge, I set up a few interviews within a certain radius of the Hilton recruiter. I had no luck breaking in.

As I left the career development office empty-handed, there was a handsome guy in the seating area. I figured if I wasn’t getting a job with Hilton, I would at least get a lunch date. As I was chatting up this charming individual, he asked if I was interviewing with Hilton. I said no and explained my plight. He asked what I was interested in and I told him human resources. The stranger asked if I could wait until after lunch. I asked why because I thought we would have lunch together.

"The world doesn’t owe you anything, but you owe it to yourself to make your own way.”

At that point, he explained that he was the Hilton Hotels college liaison and he thought I should meet with the visiting VP of human resources. So I waited. I was given 10 minutes to state my case to the VP. A week later, I was sent an airline ticket to Chicago for a second round of interviews. A couple weeks after that, I was offered the East Coast placement for the Hilton Professional Development Program HR training rotation.

Those were my first 2 lessons in career management: First, you NEVER know who you’re speaking with, and second, always have your “elevator pitch” ready.

I’ve been in human resources now for 25 years. (I can’t believe I just wrote that.) In the course of this wonderful, amazing and often ridiculous career, I’ve learned a shocking number of things along the way. You’ve already read the first 2. Here are a few more highlights.

1) Everyone says money isn’t important. I’m here to tell you it IS. My mother always told me to have enough money to provide for yourself and two kids (I don’t have kids), but I took her advice and found a career that could provide a comfortable living. However, your happiness is also extremely important. It is up to you to decide how to balance these two (often warring) factions. If you fail to figure this out, you will be destined for a lifetime of frustration and potential heartache.

2) Be kind and be honest. Those traits are very important when you’re dealing with people. And they are NOT mutually exclusive. Some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in this business have resulted from a failure to have crucial conversations about real issues. Indeed, I’ve found that every broken system, process, issue or relationship can be traced to a failure to have a candid conversation about the things that matter. This is true for business as well as your personal life.

"Find your passion and your joy. Find the career that’s right for you. You cannot wait.”

3) Learn to speak honestly while preserving and building relationships. It isn’t easy, but it is an art that will pay you back in spades your entire life.

4) Finally, it is later than you think. We are only here for a short time. There’s no time to be wait listing: I’ll wait until I have more money. I’ll wait until the timing is better. Find your passion and your joy. Find the career that is right for you. You cannot wait for someone to give it to you. YOU have to go get it and manage the process. The world doesn’t owe you anything, but you owe it to yourself to make your own way. It will not be handed to you.

I’m not the same brazen young woman I was back in the career development office that day, but I do admire her. I’ve had my bumps, disappointments and bad news along the way. But, like that day so long ago, I’ve always found a way around the dreaded wait-list.

Humbleness to pixie dust: the 2016 Commencement had it all

6/10/2016 | Saturday, May 21, was an important day for Wildcats across all four of Johnson & Wales University’s campuses — almost 3,000 undergraduate degrees were awarded during JWU’s 2016 Commencement ceremonies.

‘Go Change the World’: Providence

On the Providence campus, 1,831 degrees were awarded during two ceremonies at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Morning Ceremony: “Go out and change the world”
Students from the John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Engineering & Design and the School of Hospitality were the first to receive their degrees in JWU Providence’s morning ceremony.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza delivered greetings on behalf of the city. “We need our talented, our committed, and our brightest to go out and change the world,” he said.

“Time and again, you exhibited those intangible tenets of a Johnson & Wales University experience — pride, character, courage, community,” Chancellor John Bowen '77 told the assembled students. “That will make you a valuable and productive citizen and a leader in your chosen fields of employment.”

In addition to a video message from Providence Campus President Mim Runey, attendees heard from student speaker Jasmine Turner '16, who shared the advice she would have given her freshman-year self — like taking the time to reflect on the little things that make time on campus so memorable.

Alumni speaker Tobey Sanborn '97 reminded students to “stay connected, come back and visit,” and that the “6 degrees of Johnson & Wales separation” is very real, referring to JWU’s extensive alumni network.

Honorary degrees were awarded to William J. Murphy, partner at Murphy & Fay LLP and member of Johnson & Wales University's Board of Trustees, and Rajendra S. Sisodia, co-founder and co-chairman of Conscious Capitalism, Inc.

Sisodia also delivered the first ceremony’s commencement address. “Leadership is more important in the world than ever before, and the difference between good leadership and bad leadership is profound," he said. “Better leaders make for a better world. When you become a leader at any level, always keep in mind that the way you lead impacts the way people live.”

flags on stage

Afternoon Ceremony: “Look to the future”
In the afternoon, Deans Peter Lehmuller, EdD; Paul McVety '09 EdD; Cynthia L. Parker, EdD, '09 MBA and the faculty of the College of Culinary Arts and the School of Hospitality proudly presented their Classes of 2016.

“There are no limits to what you can do — just look at those who have come before you,” Chancellor Bowen told the crowd. “Leave here today with that same confidence and courage. Determine where that road will take you.”

Student speaker Alexandra Terra '16 encouraged her fellow grads to look around and “see the phenomenal pool of talent that you travel with into your future. These are the people who know you and will be there for you.”

Delsie Catering’s owner and creative director Pearl Farquharson '12 emphasized the amazing skill set that a JWU education fosters: “Think of your many achievements, the skills gained. This is a great university. Walk proud.”

Honorary degree recipient Champe Speidel '00, the acclaimed chef-owner of Persimmon — a James Beard-nominated restaurant that recently relocated from Bristol, RI, to Providence’s East Side — didn’t even attend his own JWU graduation: “I was working,” he confessed at the start of his Commencement speech.

While admitting that cooking requires commitment and sacrifice, Speidel was quick to emphasize how much the industry is changing for the better: “Today you can enjoy an industry that is admired for the creativity and effort put forth. Diners want to know you and what your inspiration behind these dishes is. This is still a tough industry. ... but it can be very rewarding if you have the stamina and strength to push through the tough times.”

Speidel told graduates to hold onto their passion, to find a partner and develop a plan — “the 3 P’s! Without passion for your work then your work is merely a job. Partners come in many forms. Friends, family, yes, but how about colleagues? Neighbors? Guests? Former chefs and instructors? All of them are partners in one way or another. And their support means everything. Everything you do from here on out needs to have a plan. Make those goals now, make them realistic and make a sensible plan to achieve them.”

In conclusion, he told the new alums to “break out the champagne and enjoy the moment! Congrats, Class of 2016!”


Graduate Studies Ceremony: “Faith, trust + pixie dust” 

One student’s decorated mortarboard said it all: “All it needed was faith, trust and a little pixie dust.” JWU Providence’s 2016 Graduate Studies Commencement ceremony was all about transition, transformation and the culmination of a lot of hard work.

Held at the Providence Performing Arts Center, the historic theatre was the perfect setting for a milestone ceremony that awarded a total of 261 graduate degrees, including the university’s first-ever in the health sciences.

In her Commencement address, Brown University Dean of Public Health Terrie Fox Wetle emphasized “a shared duty” to improve population health: “I encourage you to see the connection between your new professional careers and the opportunity to contribute to population health. Your skills are desperately needed and are crucial to understanding and improving how services are effectively delivered and financed.”

Dean Wetle was honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters, while United Way of Rhode Island President Anthony Maione received a Doctor of Business Administration in Management.

JWU’s Center for Physician Assistant Studies graduated its first class of 23 new PAs at the ceremony. The university also graduated its first class of MS Counseling students.


Two-time alumnus Kyle Luke '13, '16 MBA, who serves as coordinator of culinary operations at JWU’s Harborside Campus, got down on bended knee to propose to girlfriend Mammie Keith. She said yes!

A perfect ending to a memorable ceremony.

 ‘Work hard, be humble’: North Miami 

“Commencement means the beginning,” Paul Damico '86 told the Johnson & Wales North Miami Class of 2016 on Saturday, May 21. “Today marks the beginning of your career.”

Damico, the North American president of Focus Brands Inc., a franchisor and operator of food service brands including Carvel, Cinnabon and Moe's Southwest Grill, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration in Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management and delivered this year's commencement address.

“As you leave here and start a job, my hope for you is that job becomes a career you absolutely love; and then that career, over time, becomes a calling for you,” Damico continued, “because that's what happened to me.”

Student speaker Jenna Boersma '16 also praised her fellow graduates for all of their hard work. “To the students who are also parents, I commend you. To the students who are also full-time employees, I commend you. To the fellow students who are also student-athletes, I commend you. To each and every one of you who get up each day ready to face challenges and possible rejections, I commend you,” she said.

In addition to Damico's honorary degree, 404 undergraduate degrees were awarded on the North Miami Campus.

mortarboard  thumbs up

‘Grow + evolve’: Denver 

The excitement was palpable as JWU Denver’s Class of 2016, their families and alumni gathered on the Coors Family Commons for the Robert E. Taylor Gate Ceremony.

Led by a stately drum corps, soon-to-be graduates paraded east through the gate, coming full circle from their west-bound passage as first-year students at JWU Denver. Alumni celebrated them with high fives as they were officially welcomed into the fold.

The 2016 Commencement ceremony exercises kicked off the following morning at the Colorado Convention Center, with waves of anticipatory cheers emanating from the Class of 2016 waiting backstage. An International Parade of Flags representing Australia, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Vietnam marked the start of the procession.

Honoring his brother who was killed in action in Iraq, Bradley Steckelberg '16 MBA sang the national anthem.

Student commencement speaker Zaira Acevedo Becerril '16 regaled her classmates with her JWU adventure, from the unique perspective of an international student from Mexico. “JWU Denver’s campus, with its diversity, sense of community, comfort and support, helped me better understand American culture,” she explained. “The land of opportunity has proven to me that there is always room for growth, there is always space for evolution.”

Two outstanding individuals received honorary degrees: Steven J. McCarthy, chairman and CEO of Além International Management and Olympic torch relay director, received a Doctor of Business Administration in Marketing degree and also served as Commencement speaker. William H. Yosses, recent White House executive pastry chef and founder of Kitchen Garden Laboratory, received the degree of Doctor of Culinary Arts.

In his speech, McCarthy spoke of the Olympic Flame as an icon of peace: “Today is about our individual and collective duty and honor to share and promote our version of that flame around the world.”

“This grand ocean you are about to cross is just a bigger version of your first grade playground,” he remarked, reminding the Class of 2016 that they bring value to the table with their degrees. “Now you can ask, what if I was the best in the world at what I do … on my worst day?”

As each student was called to receive their degree and cross the stage, the hall exploded with shouts and applause from family and friends who have supported them in their journey. In total, 288 degrees were awarded, including 17 MBAs, 186 bachelor’s and 85 associate in science degrees.

celebrating graduates

Transitioning to ‘What's next’: Charlotte

The Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte was bustling with excitement on the morning of May 21 as family, friends and loved ones waited to see the campus' 415 students receive their undergraduate degrees. In addition, one honorary degree was awarded to Joseph “Frank” Scibelli, the founder and CEO of FS Food Group. 

“You all have a lot to be thankful for,” Scibelli said. “You are graduating from a great school that you worked really hard to get through. Your future is incredibly bright. All you have to do now is get out there and do it.”

This year's student speaker was Kellyn Stamey '16. “The desire to work is unique and will be our greatest asset as we transition to our 'what's next',” she said to her classmates.

“Graduation is a longstanding tradition,” Stamey continued, “but as I look around this arena at a sea of non-traditional students who are of every age, background and ethnicity, I see a reason we have been and will continue to be successful. We are the foundation of the unconventional. We are a new campus and we have given spirit to the walls and bricks of our buildings.”

selfie with Wille

Cross-major collaboration brings pop-up restaurant concepts to life

Design student Briana Ferraioli and students from Chef Delle Donne's Conscious Cuisine class

5/13/2016 | A colorful array of veggies and leafy greens, votive candles, fresh flowers, and seashells were just some of the components of the center pieces displayed on the tables of Conscious Cuisine classes led by Chef TJ Delle Donne '04, '07 MAT and Chef Joseph Melanson '94, '96 MAT .

Over the course of 2 days, teams of students prepared and served tasting menus they developed as part of their end-of-term assessment. But before diners dove into their first course, Graphic Design & Digital Media student designers from Professor Deana Marzocchi’s Design Solutions class took a moment to explain the restaurant concepts they had worked with the culinary students to create.

Menus ranged from locally caught and freshly prepared seafood to contemporary fare and southern-style cuisine. 

Each team of culinary students was assigned at least 1 design student (in some cases the design students worked in teams of 2) that they worked closely with to create a brand for their pop-up restaurant. From the logo and name to the color scheme and typeface, the cross-major teams collaborated to create cohesive, professional concepts that complemented each menu. A total of 8 teams presented their concepts to diners from across the Providence Campus.

Menus from Chef Melanson's Conscious Cuisine class

To view more images, visit Professor Marzocchi’s Flickr.


Graphic Design & Digital Media student explaining the concept behind pop-up restaurant Paradigm

Fruit and vegetable center piece at Ambrosia’s table

Close ups of design details for Copper Onion

Greeting table set up outside on the culinary classroom

To-go boxes containing baklava

The table setting at Copper Onion

Designer Karissa Palmer with her group from Blue Bay pop up restaurant

Inside and outside views of Driftwood’s menu


Professor Marzocchi with half of her student designers


2016 Honorary Degree recipients announced

Speidel/Damico HDR

4/21/2016 | Johnson & Wales University will award 9 honorary doctorate degrees along with 3,277 undergraduate and graduate degrees at its 2016 commencement ceremonies across all 4 campuses. See below for a list of honorary degree recipients, which includes 2 JWU alumni, Paul Damico '86 and Champe Speidel '00.

Thursday, May 19
Graduate Studies Commencement

  • Recipient and Speaker: Terrie Fox Wetle, MS, PhD, Dean of the School of Public Health, Professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice, Brown University; honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
  • Recipient: Anthony Maione, President and CEO, United way of Rhode Island; honorary Doctor of Business Administration.

Saturday, May 21
Morning Ceremony, John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, School of Engineering & Design, School of Hospitality

  • Recipient and Speaker: Rajendra S. Sisodia, co-founder and co-chairman, Conscious Capitalism, Inc., FW Olin Distinguished Professor of Global Business and Whole Food Market Research Scholar in Conscious Capitalism, Babson College; honorary Doctor of Business Administration.
  • Recipient: William J. Murphy, partner, Murphy & Fay, LLP, member of JWU Board of Trustees; honorary Doctor of Business Administration.

Afternoon Ceremony, College of Culinary Arts, School of Hospitality-Food Service Management

  • Recipient and speaker: Champe Carter Speidel '00, chef/proprietor, Persimmon and Persimmon Provisions; honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts.

Saturday, May 21
College of Arts & Sciences, College of Culinary Arts, School of Business, School of Hospitality

  • Recipient and speaker: Paul Damico '86, president, North America, Focus Brands Inc.; honorary Doctor of Business Administration in Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management.

Saturday, May 21
College of Arts & Sciences, College of Culinary Arts, School of Business, School of Hospitality

  • Recipient and speaker: Steven J. McCarthy, chairman and CEO, Além International Management Inc.; honorary Doctor of Business Administration in Sports/Entertainment/Event Management.
  • Recipient: William Yosses, founder, Kitchen Garden Laboratory; honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts.

Saturday, May 21
College of Culinary Arts, School of Business, School of Hospitality

  • Recipient and speaker: Joseph “Frank” Scibelli, founder and CEO, FS Food Group; honorary Doctor of Business Administration in Food Service Entrepreneurship.

Visit JWU Commencement for all the details on each campus’ ceremony, including times, locations and each college/school’s respective speaker.


Denver Campus appoints new president

Richard Wiscott

4/15/2016 | Richard Wiscott, PhD, the current dean of academic affairs and vice president of Johnson & Wales’ Denver campus will take over as campus president on June 1.

Wiscott has been with the university since 2008, having previously held academic positions at colleges and universities in California, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Prior to joining JWU, he was the assistant dean at Kent State University, East Liverpool Campus, in Ohio. Wiscott received both his doctorate and master's degree in psychology from The University of Akron and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Youngstown State University.

“I am excited to further contribute to the mission of the university, especially during this exciting time where we are expanding our academic portfolio, deepening the JWU student experience through athletics and civic engagement, and strengthening connections with industry,” Wiscott told the Denver Business Journal.

Wiscott will be taking over for Robin Krakowsky '88, '08 EdD, who served as Denver campus president for the past 5 years. At the conclusion of the academic year Krakowsky will be transitioning into her new role overseeing new graduate programs for the university.

Meet the 2016 Sharkfest entrepreneurship competition winners

Sharkfest 2016

4/6/2016 | Now in its fifth year, JWU Providence’s annual Sharkfest competition tests the business acumen, creativity and ambition of student entrepreneurs from a broad spectrum of majors.

Sharkfest 2016 brought a new level of focus and polish. Each of the 7 teams was given only two minutes to pitch their concept — and only 4 in which to answer the judges’ questions. The pressure was on — who would prevail?

2016’s Winning Pitches
This year’s pitches spanned a broad spectrum, from useful apps — like Aroma, a recipe matching engine, and ServUS, which streamlines customer turnover times in busy restaurants — to useful gadgets, like Flip, a smart light switch, and the Bag Buddy, a high-efficiency trash bag dispenser.

First place — and $5000 in seed money — went to North Miami freshman Thiago Rodrigues. His big idea? Students Store It will pick up and store students’ belongings for a summer or even an entire term — eliminating the need to lug everything back home.

Providence graphic design major Erin Tucci secured second place ($2500) with her Aroma app. In addition to helping users make better use of what’s in their fridge or pantry, she hopes Aroma will contribute to a reduction in the more than 60 million metric tons of food waste in the US each year.

Third place ($1000) went to Matthew Vidovich’s ServUS, which is designed to maximize restaurant efficiency while minimizing wait times — “revolutionizing the food service industry.”

Catching Up with What’s Good
Before the day’s winners were announced, John Robitaille, executive in residence at JWU’s Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship (eCenter), caught up with Matt Tortora '15, last year’s Sharkfest runner-up. His company, What’s Good, is a customized online network focused on streamlining food sourcing.

Tortora spoke candidly of the joys and challenges of running a startup: “Every day is the best and worst day of your life as a company.”

While daily ups and downs are inevitable, he emphasized the importance of staying focused on your big goals: “We’re looking to repair a food system issue and make a change,” he told Robitaille. “Getting local food [on plates] is important.”

The company is certainly making strides, with a rapidly growing network of purveyors in 15 states, and a startup team that includes 6 JWU alumni.

Tortora concluded with another crucial lesson in entrepreneurship: “Being the smartest person in the room and being a good leader aren’t always the same.”

What’s Next for the Winners?
In addition to seed funds, the 2016 finalists will be able to “incubate” their ventures at the eCenter, which includes use of office space and mentorship from eCenter staff and visiting industry professionals.

Read all about this year’s finalists.

Follow the eCenter on Twitter.


Sharkfest 2016


Sharkfest 2016


Sharkfest 2016


Sharkfest 2016


Sharkfest 2016


Sharkfest 2016

JWU alumni nominated for 2016 Beard Foundation Awards

Derek Wagner_James Beard

2/17/2016 | The James Beard Foundation has released its much-anticipated list of 2016 James Beard Award semifinalists (chef categories) — and now finalists — and JWU alumni are well-represented.

Every year, the list celebrates the best and brightest restaurants, chefs and front-of-house teams the American culinary scene has to offer.

Mind of a Chef subjects Sean Brock '00, '14 Hon. and David Kinch '81, '14 Hon. were both nominated for the Outstanding Chef category. 

Denver alum Brad Kilgore '06 received a nod for Rising Star of the Year AND Best New Restaurant for Alter, his Miami restaurant that opened last year.

Nicks on Broadway’s Derek Wagner '99 is a first-time semifinalist for Best Chef Northeast (he was previously nominated for Rising Star).

Other JWU alumni in the Best Chef Northeast category include Sarma’s Cassie Piuma '02 and Persimmon’s Champe Speidel '00 (fun fact: Derek and Champe front an all-chef band called Turn for the Wurst).

The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees, as well as the nominations for Book, Journalism, Broadcast Media, and Restaurant Design Awards, will be announced on Tuesday, March 15.

The 2016 Awards Gala will be held at Chicago’s Lyric Opera on Monday, May 2.

2016 Semifinalist Nominees

Best New Restaurant
Alter, Miami (Brad Kilgore ’06)

Outstanding Chef 
Sean Brock ’00, ’14 Hon., Husk  *finalist
David Kinch ’81, ’14 Hon., Manresa

Outstanding Pastry Chef 
Kelly Fields ‘02, Willa Jean, New Orleans

Outstanding Restaurant 
Frasca Food & Wine, Denver (Ian Wortham '12)  *finalist

Outstanding Wine Program 
FIG (Overseen by Adam Nemirow '00)  *finalist

Rising Star of the Year 
Bradley Kilgore ‘06, Alter, Miami 
Jenner Tomaska ’10, Next, Chicago  *finalist

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic 
Sydney Meers ’85, Stove, The Restaurant, Portsmouth, VA

Best Chef: New York City 
James Kent ‘02, The NoMad

Best Chef: Northeast 
Cassie Piuma '02, Sarma, Somerville, MA 
Champe Speidel '01, Persimmon, Bristol, RI (moving to Providence, RI in April) 
Derek Wagner '99, Nicks on Broadway, Providence

Best Chef: South
Nate Allen '00, Knife and Fork, Spruce Pine, NC
Vishwesh Bhatt ‘99, Snackbar, Oxford, MS  *finalist
José Mendín ‘03, Pubbelly, Miami Beach, FL

Best Chef: Southeast 
Brian Canipelli ’02, Cucina24, Asheville, NC 
Kevin Johnson ’96, The Grocery, Charleston, SC 
Erik Niel ’00, Easy Bistro, Chattanooga, TN 
Andrew Ticer ’04 and Michael Hudman ‘04, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis  *finalists
Aaron Vandemark ‘01, Panciuto, Hillsborough, NC

Best Chef: West 
Jeremy Fox, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, CA  *finalist


James Beard_plate

salmon crudo by Champe Speidel '01 of Persimmon
Recreational cooking classes with a healthy twist


12/16/2015 | There is a lot of misinformation about healthy eating out there. Every day, there’s a new study telling us which fats are acceptable — and which ones are forbidden. One day eggs are off the menu —and the next, they’re part of a healthy diet. How can we know what’s really good for us?

New JWU Initiative Sorts Facts from Hyperbole
“Consumers have been blitzed by information on what’s good and not good to eat,” notes Peter Lehmuller, EdD, dean of the College of Culinary Arts.

In response, JWU has launched “Changing the Way the World Eats,” a new public awareness effort to encourage healthy eating — as well as to emphasize its influence on the world’s food decisions, industry choices, and overall health and well-being.

Join the Healthy Eats Movement
Now you, too, can be part of the movement. Our inaugural Eat Healthy series of recreational cooking classes is designed for the general public. Learn what to eat, when to eat it, how to prepare it and gain a basic understanding of why it’s good for you. 
Each class is taught by faculty chefs from JWU’s Providence Campus — Jonathan Poyourow '03, RD, LD, Todd Seyfarth '01, RD, CSSD, and Rollie Wesen '14 MEd — featuring lectures, demonstrations and tastings of delicious foods that can be a part of your healthy lifestyle.  

Classes will be held on Saturdays from 9:30-11am at JWU’s Harborside Campus in the Harborside Academic Center (HAC) Amphitheater.

  • Fueling the Athlete
    March 19, 2016
    Instructor: Chef Jonathan Poyourow, RD, LD
  • Food with Benefits
    April 9, 2016
    Instructor: Chef Todd Seyfarth, RD, CSSD
  • Conscious Cuisine 
    May 14, 2016
    Instructor: Chef Rollie Wesen

Space is limited. If you sign up for all three sessions, you will receive a “Changing the Way” t-shirt upon completion of the entire series.

Also, a seat in the Eat Healthy Series makes the perfect gift for your friend or family member this holiday season. Gift certificates are available.

Note: When registering, choose “Eat Healthy Series” from the “Type of Class” dropdown menu. From there you can pick your class(es) of choice.   


JWU Providence earns EPA Certificate for food waste recycling

jwu recycles800x450

11/25/2015 | Johnson & Wales University’s Providence Campus has been awarded an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Food Recovery Achievement Certificate for food waste reduction.

JWU was one of 24 New England organizations to be honored with the award, including MIT and UMass Lowell.

Keeping 38,000 tons of food out of landfills

EPA New England Regional Administrator Curt Spalding praised the honorees’ “hard work and commitment” as a demonstration that “protecting the environment, saving money and feeding the hungry can go hand in hand.”

Food waste is the largest stream of materials into our landfills. Diverting food waste from landfills helps reduce the generation of harmful gases that contribute to climate change.

New England Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted more than 38,000 tons of food to donation and/or composting in 2014.

In 2013, the Providence Campus recycled 82 tons of food waste. In 2014, that number increased to 111 tons — and the 2015 amount is trending upward. (Definitive numbers are expected early next year.)

Looking to 2016, JWU will be installing a third-generation food digester on the Harborside Campus. As with the previous digester (which was removed in 2014), food waste will be “cooked” and turned into square briquettes that will be used as a soil supplement on campus. Starting in fall 2016, all Providence Campus dining facilities will begin recycling their food waste — all in preparation for the RI law that will go into effect in 2016 making it a requirement for institutions of certain size.

Scott Miller, JWU recycling manager, recognizes the College of Culinary Arts’ Executive Chef Ken Watt '88, Assistant Dean Bill Idell '89 and Operations Manager Matthew Tetzner '05 — as well as students and staff — for their enthusiasm and support for food waste reduction on campus.

“It’s good old-fashioned common sense that we should use food to feed people and not landfills,” noted the EPA’s Spalding.

JWU opens new criminal justice lab

CJ Lab_ribbon cutting

11/12/2015 | "In the area of criminal justice, a strong relationship between our educational institutions and the professional law enforcement community is vital to continuing advancements in the field,” said Tom Dwyer, vice chancellor and provost, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for JWU’s new criminal justice lab. “This is a great day and a real step forward for JWU.”

Johnson & Wales officially opened the lab, located on the fifth floor of the TACO Center on the Providence Campus, on November 10. In addition to members of the university’s leadership, Criminal Justice students and JWU faculty and staff, several Rhode Island law enforcement representatives were in attendance, including Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré.

New lab includes staging room and analysis suite

JWU spent $650,000 on the 2,400 square foot space which consists of:

CJ Lab Equipment

•  A crime lab with laboratory grade furniture and equipment .
•  A crime scene staging room with moveable furniture and a bullet trajectory research window. 
•  Faculty offices.

The staging room will give the students a place to collect evidence that they then can analyze in the crime lab. Forensic microscopes and finger printing kits are just some of the equipment students will have at their disposal.

“Like so many of the programs we offer at Johnson & Wales, criminal justice is a field where you have to apply what you learn in the classroom to real life settings,” said President Mim Runey. “To be successful in preparing our students for the workforce of tomorrow, we knew that their classroom learning had to go beyond their textbooks.”

“Using the new lab equipment will be like having a backstage pass at your favorite concert,” says Sophia Gentile ’19, a criminal justice major. “I will be able to see and participate in the inner-workings of the processes in my exact field of interest before graduating. The skills I will gain from the new crime lab and from the Criminal Justice program will give me confidence and optimism when I enter the workforce.”

CJ Lab Students

“This is yet another way that we are making an investment in JWU’s future and the future of our students,” added Dwyer.

President Runey and JWU administration sought recommendations from faculty, reached out to law enforcement leaders at the city and state level for input, and ultimately built a space where, in addition to reading about how to collect, identify, classify and process evidence, students could do all of those things.

CJ Lab Crime Scene

With 500 students in the Criminal Justice program, approximately 150 students will use this new lab each year. Classes will begin taking place in the lab this winter term.

Other invited guests to the ribbon cutting ceremony included:

•  Colonel Steven O’Donnell, superintendent of the RI State Police
•  A.T. Wall '13 Hon., RI Department of Corrections director
•  Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements
•  Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King
•  Dennis Hillard, RI State Crime Lab director

Meet the winners of JWU Denver’s Sharkfest

Denver Sharkfest

11/6/2015 | Student entrepreneurs were in the spotlight at JWU Denver’s second annual Sharkfest competition, which featured 7 teams vying for a spot in the university-wide contest.

“I was really impressed with the caliber of thinking from these students and I see some successful concepts here,” noted judge Peter Casillas, publisher of the Denver Business Journal.

Each entrepreneurial endeavor was judged on 5 criteria:

  • Presentation quality.
  • Chances of success.
  • Return on investment.
  • Whether it was a realistic venture.
  • Judges’ willingness to invest.

This year’s winning Denver business pitches are:

  • First place: Seniors Josh Novorr '16 + Anthony Espinoza '16 created 3 Step Cheese Mix, a make-at-home cheese dip with a specially-created seasoning.
  • Second place: Senior Courtney Drewlo '16 created 2HOT!, a medical device designed to prevent vehicular heat stroke.
  • Third place: Sophomore Colyn Goins '18 pitched SkyMind Media, an exclusive HDTV advertising agency.

Discovering a Passion for Entrepreneurship
Whether or not they walked away with the top spot or a cash prize, students were unanimous in praising the experience.

Freshman Kari Schwartz '19, whose team Knife Light won first place in the First-Year Students’ Sharkfest held during Homecoming, said, “I [went] from not wanting to be an entrepreneur at all, to … actually feeling like I have a pretty good chance at starting something.”

Espinoza and Novorr teamed up after meeting in a marketing class taught by School of Business professor Kris Hefley, who is also a consultant with the Small Business Development Center’s satellite office on campus.

“[Josh and Anthony] got it figured out, they just need to work on the marketing and distribution of their product,” said Hefley, who also remarked that the duo has a great chance of success in getting their product to market.

Judge Casillas agreed: “I think … 3 Step Cheese Mix could go to market with a lot of success. It’s a really impressive product. With a smart name and distribution, I expect to be eating this cheese in 6 months.”

“I never thought I’d call myself an entrepreneur, but I’d love to be,” said Espinoza. When asked what the next steps are in the process for their idea, Espinoza said, “It will definitely happen. The next step … is to get FDA approval and a patent.”

Denver Sharkfest 2

What’s Next for the Winners?
The 3 highest ranking finalists received a stipend for $1500, $1000 and $500, respectively. First place winners Novorr and Espinoza will continue on to the JWU Providence Sharkfest, to be held April 2016. Read all about last year’s Sharkfest here.

In addition to Denver Business Journal’s Casillas, the judges represented a cross section of industries:

  • Gwendolyn Bonnilla, Accion Colorado loan officer.
  • Steven McCarthy, CEO of Além International Management.
  • Robert Corey '15 MBA, JWU Denver culinary chef instructor.
  • Therese Zuercher, Rocky Mountain Hydrostatics.
  • Mike Ross '07, United Natural Foods inventory planner/buyer.

JWU Denver Sharkfest was generously sponsored by Cascade Financial Management, Inc., US Bank, Italco Food Products Inc., TKM Foundation, and Partners Colorado Credit Union.

Renovated Centennial Hall honored with Preservation Award

Renovated Centennial Hall

11/5/2015 | Historic Denver recently honored Johnson & Wales University’s Centennial Hall renovation project with their 2015 Community Preservation Award.

The award, which is given to projects that exemplify high-quality restoration, the careful consideration of the city’s historic fabric and a commitment to the community, was presented at Historic Denver’s 45th Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony.

After more than 30 years of being shuttered and $17 million in renovations, Centennial Hall – which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places – has been transformed into the new heart and hub of JWU’s Denver Campus.

Originally named Treat Hall, the building was built in 1886 for the Colorado Women’s College. In 2000, JWU purchased the campus in the Park Hill neighborhood, but the building remained shuttered for more than 3 decades. The structure was renamed Centennial Hall in 2014 as an homage to Colorado, the Centennial State, and to JWU’s centennial year.

The newly renovated Centennial Hall features

  • Classrooms.
  • A café.
  • Faculty and administrative offices.
  • Student activity spaces.
  • Health and counseling services.
  • A great hall that will be used for events.

Many of the original finishes of Centennial Hall – including the original grand staircase and doors – have been preserved and/or repurposed to allow the building’s grandeur to shine and flourish.

Saunders Construction oversaw the project, while JWU worked with Hord Coplan Macht (formerly SLATERPAULL Architects) for the buildings’ unique design features.

Historic Denver executive director Annie Levinsky said she was excited to see the functionality of the new space so well-integrated with many of the historic aspects of the building.

“The amount of thought and care that went into this project is incredible, and honors the dynamic between old and new so that Centennial Hall will vibrantly thrive for another century,” said Levinsky.

Centennial Hall Award


Denver Campus President Robin Krakowsky ' 88, '08 EdD (front row center) receives the award. She is flanked by (left-right):  Jamie Pedler, Denise Diebolt and Craig Welsh, all of Hord Coplan Macht; Dick Saunders of Saunders Construction; Denver Campus Dean of Academic Affairs & Vice President Richard Wiscott; and Kurt Swenson of Sodexo.


Charlotte Campus names new president

robert mock

8/28/2015 | Robert C. Mock, Jr., EdD, has been named president of Johnson & Wales University’s Charlotte Campus. The announcement was made by Mim Runey LPD, JWU’s Providence Campus president and chief operating officer. Mock will begin his presidency on September 30.

Advancing JWU’s Mission
Charged with advancing the university’s mission and guiding principles, Mock’s primary areas of focus will be developing a campus plan to support retention and graduation rates, academic programming, student engagement, affordability, relationships in the Charlotte community, and a strong foundation with respect to finances, human resources, and campus facilities and infrastructure.

Distinguished Career in Higher Education + Business
Mock brings a wealth of experience in higher education, business, and the military that will benefit the Charlotte Campus. His career in higher education began in 1995 at the University of Arkansas as a staff member in continuing education; 4 years later, he joined the faculty. In 2001, he began his ascent in the university’s leadership, from an associate dean to the associate vice provost for student affairs. Since 2010, he has served as the vice president for student affairs at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

His professional career started in business, with positions at the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Pepsi-Cola Company in Missouri, and the Illinois Tool Works in Arkansas. From 2002 until 2010, he served in the Arkansas Army National Guard as a medical service corps hospital administrative officer. He has received many academic honors, has presented at numerous conferences, is well-published, and has been an active member in the community. He received both his Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration and Master of Arts in Interpersonal & Organizational Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering at the Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

Mock and his family are looking forward to relocating to North Carolina.

Gratitude to Interim President Malik
Tarun Malik '90, '11 EdD, has been an excellent steward for the Charlotte Campus as interim president; he returns to his prior position of vice president of the campus. With his years of knowledge and experience, he will ensure a smooth transition of leadership and will be a strong asset to the new president in the coming months.

Larry Rice named North Miami Campus president

Larry Rice

8/7/2015 | Larry Rice, EdD, '90 has been named president of Johnson & Wales University’s North Miami Campus. The announcement was made today by Mim Runey LPD, JWU’s Providence Campus president and chief operating officer.

Rice, a Johnson & Wales graduate, academic leader and administrator, has served as interim president since 2014, succeeding Loreen Chant. He formerly served as campus vice president and dean of academic affairs, after joining the North Miami Campus in 1993 as a faculty member.

“At Johnson & Wales we promote an academic culture of praxis, where the classroom meets the industry,” Rice said. “We will continue to focus on what we do best, and that is supporting our students in their academic journeys through solid experiential learning. It’s not just about preparing them for jobs, but for their lifelong personal and professional growth.”

The North Miami Campus, which was opened in 1992 with 82 culinary arts students, has grown to roughly 1,900 students pursuing bachelor’s degrees through its School of Business, College of Arts & Sciences and School of Hospitality and associate degrees through the College of Culinary Arts. The campus has graduated more than 7,800 students since opening in 1992. Nearly 9,800 graduates from all JWU campuses currently live in Florida.

Rice’s longtime commitment to the university for more than 2 decades and his involvement in the South Florida community for 25 years, were key factors in the decision to name him president. His priorities will include the expansion of academic programs, continuing the high level of institutional aid for students with financial need, and the implementation of programs that will provide greater support for students who are at risk of not completing their college degrees.

Similar to many JWU students, Rice was the first in his family to go to college. Last year, he was part of an inaugural group of administrators that led the school’s 1G (first generation) affinity group which helps provide first generation students with a stronger support system. He has also led the development of the campus’ new Talent Advancement Program. This initiative will launch this fall for 120 students who will enroll part-time in their first term as they participate in programming that will teach them the life skills to better succeed in college and beyond.

After graduating from JWU’s Charleston Campus with an associate degree, Rice received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida International University and his doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University.

Rice resides in Plantation with his wife, Michele, and two daughters, Claire and Victoria.


JWU goes tobacco-free

JWU tobacco free

5/18/2015 | All 4 campuses of Johnson & Wales University (JWU) will be tobacco-free as of July 1, 2016. The Charlotte, N.C. campus will lead the way on July 1, 2015, with the North Miami, Fla. campus following on December 1. The Providence, R.I. and Denver, Colo. campuses will be tobacco-free on July 1, 2016.

“One of the goals of the university’s current strategic plan is to provide a safe and healthy working and learning environment for the entire Johnson & Wales University community,” said Ronald Martel, PhD, JWU vice president of student affairs. “Over the past two years, Johnson & Wales has taken progressive steps toward becoming tobacco-free, including prohibiting the selling of tobacco products and tobacco-related advertising on campus. We are now ready to take a major step forward to create a healthier environment for the Johnson & Wales community by establishing JWU as a tobacco-free university.” 

Since the nationwide launch of the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative in 2012, there has been a 90 percent increase of the number of college campuses adopting smoke-free policies. As of January 1, 2015, more than 1,500 U.S. college campuses are smoke-free, with two-thirds of those campuses also being tobacco-free, according to the Americans for Non Smokers’ Rights

“By becoming tobacco-free, our campus environments will be healthier, safer, and cleaner,” said Martel. “Support will be offered for tobacco users to quit, starting on the path for better health. In addition, our students will be better prepared for the reality of tobacco-free workplaces and communities.”

“One Million Cups” finds a home at JWU


5/5/2016 | Johnson & Wales University joins 72 other communities nationwide as the only site in New England for The Kaufman Foundation’s “One Million Cups (1MC),” a weekly, national program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. 

1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. The program, led by more than 300 volunteers throughout the country, offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors and fellow entrepreneurs each week. Presenters gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather feedback, and walk away feeling like they have advanced their business. At last week’s session, Julius Searight ’13 presented on his business “Food4Good.”

The Kauffman Foundation is recognized as one of the largest private foundations in the country. It was created and endowed by Ewing Marion Kauffman (1916-1993), a successful pharmaceutical entrepreneur, baseball team owner and philanthropist. “The foundation is focused on education and entrepreneurship, so it’s a perfect match for the Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship,” says John Robitaille, executive director of JWU’s eCenter.

“All members of the JWU community are welcome to be part of 1MC,” says Robitaille. “You can attend, participate in the discussion, ask questions, or sign up to be a presenter. Anyone who has an entrepreneurial story to tell is welcome. Many come to just network and learn from fellow entrepreneurs about both success and failure.”

All weekly 1MC sessions are free and open to the public and the JWU community without registration.

Experience Your Future Now

experience your future now4/22/2015 | The university is embarking on a strategic identity program to ensure that it is well positioned in an increasingly competitive higher education marketplace.

The branding initiative, closely aligned with 2017: The Centennial Plan and which launched yesterday, is designed to more powerfully and effectively communicate the university’s distinctiveness and advantages in each of Johnson & Wales University’s 4 markets. Specific messaging for each campus is being developed to take advantage of the uniqueness of those areas and environments. The initiative’s goals are to raise awareness and strengthen perceptions of JWU in each market, and, ultimately, to drive more qualified students and their families to seek JWU’s unique and innovative educational model. 

Extensive research and university-wide conversations over the past 18 months have led to the development of a positioning strategy and new tag line – “Experience Your Future Now.” A creative approach developed to express the strategy and tag line speaks to the university’s historic strengths in experiential education and to its evolving educational programs that give students an exceptional education that inspires professional success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth. The university will tell its story through an advertising campaign that will include billboards, radio and television spots, online, social media and more traditional print communications. During the next 6 months, the campaign will be rolled out internally to all members of the university community to elicit their support and engage them in the effort. Over the next 3 years, the campaign will reinforce the university’s core mission, challenge long-held perceptions and excite prospective students to experience their futures – now - at Johnson & Wales University.

Look for JWU billboards that are appearing on many major roadways in the greater Providence area, and listen for JWU spots running on local radio stations. You’ll also hear and see JWU promotions on Spotify and numerous online platforms.

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