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 The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University Receives Initial
Grant from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation in the Amount of
$1.3 million for the $5.8 million Culinary Business Learning
Lab Revitalization Project

August 22, 2008, East Lansing, Michigan - The $5.8 million Culinary Business Learning Lab revitalization project in the Kellogg Hotel &
Conference Center is well underway, with an initial grant of $1.3 million from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.

It takes innovation and vision to be a leader. And as a School that seeks to be The Leader in Hospitality Business Education, The School is deep in the planning and development stages of creating a revitalized Culinary Business Learning Lab, where “top talent meets technology,” “research meets real world,” “sizzle meets sustainability,” and where “culinary creativity meets business acumen.” The $5.8 million project is already underway, with an initial grant from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation in the amount of $1.3 million.

The new Lab will be located in the space where The School’s Wall of Fame, dining room kitchens, and demonstration classroom / auditorium now exist in the lower level of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. Those facilities have served The School and its students well for 20 years, just as the 1940s food labs and the state-of-the-art Food Lab within the brand new Kellogg Center in 1951 served in their time. Many alumni remember with fondness the hours they spent in what were then cutting-edge facilities.

“The new Culinary Business Learning Lab will honor our past, but look to a 21st century future,” explains Director and Professor Ron Cichy. Plans include:

  • A new entryway, highlighting a new Alumni Association Hall of Fame honoring select alumni and setting the appropriate tone as one enters the new space. The Hall of Fame will even more appropriately honor those inducted, and inspire the students who work and study in The School.
  • A new demonstration theater, with a contemporary demo kitchen front and center, and presentation and staging areas for tastings and guest lectures. The advanced audiovisual component will allow instructional activity to be broadcast to students in the teaching and research kitchen as well as to distance learning students.
  • A teaching and research kitchen providing hands-on learning space through activity pods with individual stations for students, each outfitted with the latest in equipment.
  • A completely renovated dining room with expanded seating and multi-use availability for MSU and the community, as well as national and international industry and academic partners.
  • Seeking the new LEE D (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. LEE D is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings, recognizing performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials, selection, and indoor environmental quality.
“The new Culinary Business Learning Lab will invigorate and expand our students’ experiences and capabilities,” says Professor of Culinary Business Allan Sherwin (BA ’64). “And even more than before, companies will use The School as The place for executive development.”

The Marriott Foundation grant will get the project underway, providing funds to create the new entryway and Hall of Fame, as well as the demonstration theater. The rest of the project will use funding from other corporations and from individuals who wish to donate to the project.

Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center
Bill Garrison welcomed the first guests to Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center on September 17, 1951, and today we remain focused on providing award-winning services to Michigan State University and the public. Much more than a campus hotel, Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center is the realization of the visionaries of the past and continues to embody the spirit of service beyond the campus boundaries.

The original concept was proposed just before the start of World War II by the Michigan Hotel Association to provide all facilities necessary to house, feed and conduct an educational conference under one roof. The inn would be a laboratory for hotel management. The project interested the Kellogg Foundation as a means to provide a venue for adult education and fit with the land grant mission of the University. The Kellogg Foundation financed the building with a $1.4 million grant. The State Board of Agriculture provided an additional $500,000. Michigan State University thus became the site of the first Kellogg Center for Continuing Education. There are now eleven Kellogg Centers throughout the United States.

Today, under the direction of Joel Heberlein, CHA, Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center continues to serve as a learning laboratory for the 300-400 students each year that are enrolled in The School of Hospitality Business and other majors. "Our role is still that of facilitating continuing education through hundreds of conferences, seminars and meetings. We provide our guests with first-rate accommodations and exceptional service through highly trained professional staff. We annually host 400,000 individuals for weddings, seminars, conferences and meetings, and each deserves only the best service, regardless of the occasion."

The Culinary Business Learning Lab advisory committee is led by two very dedicated alumni, Phil Hickey (BA ’77), and Richard Farrar (BA ’73). Both individuals are optimistic about raising the remaining funds.

“Our alumni are leaders in every segment of the industry, including foodservice management and culinary business,” says Phil. “They know how necessary this project is, and how much the industry needs leaders educated in the most up-to-date techniques with the most cutting-edge technology.” Richard agrees, but notes that companies have an incentive to donate funds and equipment to the project, as well. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s decision makers,” he says. They will be making purchasing decisions based in large measure on their past experiences with products and equipment they used in the teaching and research kitchen.”

A concerted development effort is an integral part of making the project a reality.

If you or your company is interested in learning more about the project and how to get involved, please contact Shelley MacMillan at

About The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University
Founded in 1927, The School celebrates its 81st year anniversary in 2008. The School has more than 9,000 graduates worldwide, including a number of leading academicians and industry executives, who have earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The mission of The School is to continually enhance The School’s leadership position in hospitality business education through teaching, research, and service. Recognized as the top-ranked hospitality business school in the world, The School offers an exceptionally well-crafted curriculum, taught by innovative professors who are leading textbook authors, sought-after consultants, and respected researchers. The mission of The School of Hospitality Business Alumni Association is to provide active leadership in support of the mission of The School of Hospitality Business through membership participation, image enhancement, financial commitment, and promotion of synergies among students, faculty, alumni, and friends. The First, The Original, and STILL The Leader. . . The School of Hospitality Business. For more information, please visit


Lena Loeffler
(517) 884-1580

Also See: The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University Elects New Alumni Association Officers; Marc J. Gordon and Mary Ann Ramsey Named Chairman of the Board and President Respectively / June 2008


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