Countdown to 100

Countdown to 100

Count Down 232x162

As JWU nears the century mark, share in our enthusiasm and pride as we recount our university’s rich and vibrant history.

With President Morris Gaebe ’98 Hon. and Vice President John Yena ’06 Hon. at the helm, tremendous shifts were taking place at Johnson & Wales College in the 1970s. They successfully launched the two-year management Veterans Introductory Program and initiated “Weekend College.” They also launched the four-day week, giving all students the option to gain experience in their field, while offsetting tuition with part-time work. Full-time enrollment swelled to 3,500.

What endured was the belief expressed by founder Mary Wales of “education for employment first; education for education’s sake, second.” In 1971, the concept of “learn by doing” came to life when Johnson & Wales opened its first retail practicum — the Double Dresser — in the store-front of the former Crown Hotel on Weybosset Street. This gave students hands-on experience learning every facet of the retail trade and merchandising, over an 11-week session.

“We’re always looking for new programs, but we always intend to stay business oriented,” said Gaebe. Through this very lens, administration weighed industry relevance and carefully considered the market for food service employees. In a bold move, they created the hospitality division under the business program in 1972.

Starting off as a fairly minor program, over the years hospitality studies grew in prominence as the service industry became the fastest area of job growth in the nation. Today The Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University is America’s preeminent hospitality and food service educator.

Image: The Double Dresser in 1972. Then manager, Daniel Viveiros Ph.D., ’72, ’89 M.S. (second from left), was the first student manager of the property and was offered the job full time upon graduation. He still teaches in the Providence Campus College of Business.