Once secure in its new university status in Providence,
Johnson & Wales was ready to establish its first full
campus beyond its home in Rhode Island. In April
1992 JWU leaders purchased the newly vacated North Miami
General Hospital to house students and classrooms and within
weeks bought an adjacent office building and parking garage.
Donald McGregor, JD, left his post as vice president of administration and planning
in Providence to lead the enterprise with a team that included Robert Nograd CMC, '89 MS, ’99 Hon., Loreen Chant '89 and Barry Vogel '83, '89 MS. In November, a culinary
program opened with 81 students. By the following September, close to 400 students
— 200 in residence — opened the campus.
In the first year, facilities grew from one kitchen and one dining room to 7 kitchens,
two dining rooms, a mixology lab, a meat cutting room and two baking and pastry
shops. A hospitality program was launched in 1996, and in 1997 a College of
Business began, offering 7 majors.
A new century saw a master plan to transform the campus from a disparate
collection of buildings into a campus community, and from a drive-through campus to a walking
campus with student centers and green space. A renovated student dining center, The Mix, Tropical
Pointe residence hall, the opening of Nograd Center and the 2007 construction of a pedestrian
mall between Tropical Pointe and Palm Gardens completed the plan’s first major components.
By the close of a second decade, founding president McGregor had retired and passed the
baton to President Chant. In 2011 Biscayne Commons residence hall was reconstructed and the
opening of the new Wildcat Center created a home for a fitness center and the many athletics
teams on campus as well as a hub of activity for its more than 2,100 students.
From a venture in culinary education built on a warm breeze and a visionary gamble, JWU’s North
Miami Campus is now a center of higher education and community involvement celebrating 20 years of
“We have not only evolved in our physical appearance and the quality of our campus environment, but we
have also strengthened our approach to educating students both inside and outside of the classroom,” says
Chant. “I’m proud of the success of our students and alumni and excited about our future development.”