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In a Class of its Own: Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at Auburn University promotes more than hospitality

·4 min read

AUBURN, Ala., Sept. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center is a building like no other at Auburn University.

The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, home to the College of Human Sciences' School of Hospitality Management, is the only facility of its kind in the world, offering hands-on training and classroom instruction in all areas of the hospitality management industry. It is also the only building on the campus of Auburn University to blend a major academic component with revenue-generating elements.
The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, home to the College of Human Sciences' School of Hospitality Management, is the only facility of its kind in the world, offering hands-on training and classroom instruction in all areas of the hospitality management industry. It is also the only building on the campus of Auburn University to blend a major academic component with revenue-generating elements.

The 142,000-square-foot, six-story facility at the corner of East Thach Avenue and South College Street is the first campus building to blend a major academic component with revenue-generating elements.

The massive building exemplifies experiential learning by providing students with traditional lectures and real-world experiences under one roof, unlike any other place in the world. Two notable areas are The Laurel Hotel & Spa, a teaching hotel and spa, and 1856, a teaching restaurant. Revenue generated from these areas and others will pay for features such as a master sommelier and a chef-in-residence, among other aspects.

"A favorite catch-phrase at Auburn is that we are an 'everything school,'" said Susan Hubbard, dean of the College of Human Sciences. "We experience success and make headlines in multiple ways. The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center has everything under one roof for an elevated education and hospitality experience. This new academic and commercial environment will provide a level of engagement for our students that already has the hospitality industry taking notice."

"The center dramatically enhances critical thinking opportunities for students in hands-on courses," said Mark Traynor, an associate professor and director of culinary science in the college's School of Hospitality Management. "Students will be presented with real-world problems and challenges to solve each day."

As Alabama's only professionally accredited hospitality program, Auburn hospitality management students will take a series of courses designed for them to work in 1856 and The Laurel.

Learning By Doing

Martin O'Neill, head of the School of Hospitality Management, described the center as "a hive of activity," given the variety of teaching facilities and amenities, such as a culinary exhibition laboratory, where faculty and visiting chefs hold demonstrations for students and community members, and culinary laboratories, where students develop skills before working in the food outlets.

In 1856 and The Laurel, students will experience various roles and progress experientially, starting their sophomore year, to supervisory roles in their senior year.

Besides traditional classes, O'Neill said the school is working with a number of beverage-oriented bodies to offer a range of student, industry and community-oriented courses and certifications in wine education and distilled spirits.

Auburn has successfully offered a graduate certificate in brewing science and operations for nearly a decade. With a microbrewery in the center, faculty and graduate brewing students will have the opportunity to hone their craft and grow their educational experience with hands-on practice. Recipes developed and produced in the brewery will be for sale to the public.

Student, community and private events will be held on the center's rooftop garden and street-level green spaces. Students in the event management track of the hospitality management degree will assist in planning and execution of these events.

Additional Expertise

A unique feature of the Rane Culinary Science Center is the utilization of a chef-in-residence program. The inaugural chef-in-residence for 1856 is Chef Tyler Lyne, co-owner of Tasting TBL in Birmingham.

"Gaining this sort of exposure, working with the best culinarians year after year, is unmatched as no other school offers this type of experience in the traditional learning environment," said O'Neill.

Thomas Price will serve as the restaurant's master sommelier. Only 269 people have earned the title worldwide, with 172 in the Americas chapter.

"The level of knowledge that a master sommelier brings to the table is extraordinary and will absolutely set our students apart," said Associate Professor David Martin.

The College of Human Sciences works in partnership with Ithaka Hospitality Partners in providing exceptional engagement opportunities for students as Ithaka employees support the college faculty throughout the center.

The experiential learning process for students will be enriched every time a guest stays at The Laurel, eats in 1856 or attends an event on the rooftop. These actions train future hospitality experts.

"The Rane Culinary Science Center promotes education first," explained Martin. "From day one, the entire team has been focused on how this new facility would enhance student learning. We created a learning environment unlike any other that is going to make our graduates even more sought after, while providing the community with an unparalleled hospitality experience."

(PRNewsfoto/Auburn University)
(PRNewsfoto/Auburn University)
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SOURCE Auburn University