As JWU nears the century mark, share in our enthusiasm and pride as we recount our university's rich and vibrant history.
By the mid-1970s Johnson & Wales business, hospitality and culinary programs were thriving. Increasing enrollment fueled the need for physical expansion and led administrators to make important investments in facilities.
In 1975, Johnson & Wales purchased two buildings from Francis and David Friedman '75 Hon. One was used for the culinary arts center, the second was converted into a 250-bed residence hall. That year the college also invested in Dreyfus Hotel. The building was a shadow of its former glory, but Johnson & Wales made a commitment to restoring it — one of its early and visible commitments to revitalizing downtown.
In July 1977, the college took over Gladdings department store. The upper stories of the building were used as classrooms and the first floor became the Double Dresser — a retail laboratory which had been located at Crown Hall (formerly the Crown Hotel), giving students hands-on experience in every facet of retail and merchandising.
At that time, J&W's enrollment was second only to that of the University of Rhode Island. The year also marked the addition of the 8-storey Minden Hall on Providence's East Side to the college building directory. July 1980 brought the acquisition of the former Yankee Motor Inn in Warwick, RI. It was renamed the Rhode Island Inn, and used for residence hall space and a student-run motel and restaurant operation. In September 1980, the 102-room Carlton House in Cranston, RI, was purchased to accommodate still more on-campus housing.
As the 1970s drew to a close, Johnson & Wales' convocations and commencements were held at the Ocean State Performing Arts Center and the college brought renewed vibrancy to downtown Providence.