Auburn University has been planning a new Culinary Center for campus for close to 15 years. Students can expect a new groundbreaking culinary center in 2021 thanks to funding by the Rane family to begin construction.
“Mr. Rane has shown a lot of faith in our concept and has stepped forward to help us make a real difference programatically and economically in state,” said Martin A. O’Neill, Horst Schulze Endowed Professor of Hospitality Management and Head of Department Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality. “Truthfully, this will be a world-leading academic center.”
Auburn students have had access to culinary education, but the programs will soon grow to accommodate more needs. Auburn University is already known for its hospitality management program as it is one of only 70 programs in the world to have accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration. Currently, students can find three majors, hotel and restaurant management, event management and culinary sciences. Moving forward, however, new options will become available and students can study beverage studies, wine studies, brewing science or spa management. These will be the new majors or minors, though other courses may be available, too.
“Our goal is to serve not only the University student population, but also industry and our community,” O’Neill said. “We anticipate offering a range of outreach-oriented courses targeted at hospitality industry workforce development — these would be targeted at employees throughout the state.”
These courses would help students learn skills necessary for their everyday jobs such as learning customer service. Other courses would focus on skills such as beverage appreciation, food production, food and wine pairing or mixology.
The first class to experience these new Auburn options will become Tigers this fall.
“As regarding enrollment, we anticipate growing to around 500 students across each of our study options — hotel and restaurant management, event management and culinary science,” O’Neill said. “That said, we expect annual graduation across all programs to be in the 100 to 120 range.”
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For students that join the hospitality management and culinary program, they will also be required to obtain a minor in business, O’Neill said. This may help them in their career paths.
“The culinary science option is designed to service the needs of students seeking to advance their careers in the broad culinary field, including the commercial and non-commercial food production and service industry,” O’Neill said. “The program will prepare students for advanced career entry by providing them with a differential mix of hands-on experience and the professional skill set deemed critical for success in this ever-evolving and innovative sector. The program blends the art, science and business of food to prepare students for a wide array of employment opportunities.”
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