They were “glowing.”  With pride, that is, during Homecoming weekend at Michigan State University.  Alumni and donors of The School of Hospitality Business enjoyed a thank you reception in the revitalized J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Culinary Business Learning Lab on Thursday, October 20, with the official ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday, October 21.

The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation supplied half of the funding for the CBLL, which occupies 11,158 square feet in the garden level of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. 

Renovations to the space began last Fall semester, after $4.1 million was raised to create a revitalized demonstration theater, teaching kitchens, Alumni Hall of Fame, display gallery, gathering space, and dining room.  An emphasis was placed throughout on sustainable materials and using renewable resources. 

Cutting the ribbon, President Lou Anna K. Simon said the celebration goes beyond the wonderful physical facility.  “We have to prepare our students to leave here with the best network” of alumni and contacts, she said.   Further, employers need to see the attributes our students possess and know that our students will be assets in hospitality businesses.  Finally, she said, our students need to be seen as global citizen scholars, people to “who can change the fabric of their communities, their country, and the world.”  When this happens, she explained, “It will rebound back so no one will ever question why the ‘The’ is in front of ‘The School’s’ name.”

At both the Thursday and Friday events, alumni who had gathered for Homecoming weekend’s festivities and alumni board meeting were amazed at the renovation. 

“It looks like the future – clean and crisp with up-to-date technology,” said The School’s Alumni Association President John Theuer (BA ’83, MBA ’83). 

And at both events, students in The School planned and prepared receptions with unique food and beverage offerings, under the guidance of Professor of Culinary Business Chef Allan Sherwin (BA ’64). 

The School’s Homecoming festivities got off to a good start with the opening of the Culinary Business Learning Lab, and on Friday evening, with the Homecoming theme “Glow Green,” the students’ Hospitality Association float (with two “chefs” roasting a stuffed “badger”) won best float (for the second year in a row) out of 160 parade units.  Over 100 students, alumni, and faculty marched together with the float.  The spirit was infectious.

Good omens, apparently, for the icing on the cake:  an incredible last-second victory over Wisconsin in the Homecoming game.  A Hail Mary pass sealed the deal, and capped off a memorable, “glowing” weekend.