JWU dedicated the historic Paramount Building, a signature facility located on the Providence Harborside Campus, as The Friedman Center in honor of the Rhode Island entrepreneur and food service industry pioneer, David Friedman. He influenced JWU to expand beyond its position as a local business school into a provider of professional culinary education and he envisioned the University’s development of close to 100 acres now known as Harborside, to serve as an additional location for the Providence Campus.
In 1971, Friedman noticed a critical shortage of food management professionals and chefs. As owner and operator of Paramount Restaurant Supply Corporation, a successful provider of restaurant equipment, furnishings, general supplies, financing and even retail construction and design, Friedman accurately predicted the expansive growth of the restaurant and food service industries, and the need for well educated and trained professionals to manage this growth.
Friedman’s business was located in the 203,467 square foot building that now carries his name. Today, it is a multipurpose facility that is home to the Graduate School and School of Education, Office of Residential Life, Student Academic Services, the Career Development Office and the university’s Culinary Arts Museum.
JWU Board Chairman Dr. John A. Yena says of Friedman, “He was a true pioneer in every sense of the word—as a successful businessman who recognized the industry’s growth, he would create the need for a whole new category of well-educated and trained professionals.”