The “go-to” planner for powerhouse events
for Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and the
inauguration of President Barack Obama was
on the Providence Campus in April as the
53rd Distinguished Visiting Professor for The
Rhode Island native Bryan Rafanelli,
founder, president and CEO of Rafanelli Events,
advised sports/entertainment/event management
students not to wait for success to come to them.
Reflecting on his own experience and nerve,
he urged them to be aggressive about pursuing
career options. Several immediately asked about
internships within his firm. By the planner’s
“we’ll-see” grin, the competition is on.
Rafanelli gained national attention for creating
Chelsea Clinton’s “wedding of the decade.” In
addition to its Boston headquarters, his firm now
has offices in Palm Beach, Washington, DC and
New York City.
Sophomore Victoria Ayers was the recipient of
the DVP Scholarship. — Miriam Weinstein ’08 MBA
‘X Factor’ Takes the CakeWhen Providence became the only Northeast
city in the US to host the Fox television hit
“The X Factor,” the university was invited to
take part by designing a cake sculpture that
definitely had the “X” factor.
Positioned on a 48-inch-square platform
resembling the stage floor, the 28-inch-high
cake was a stack of seven rounds gradually
rising in steps from an 18-inch base to a
4-inch top tier. Each was frosted in white
fondant based with alternating ribbons
of black and red. Fondant silhouettes of
anxious auditioners were posed on the sides
and surrounding “stage” along with handsculpted
figures resembling stars of the
popular music competition. The “X Factor”
logo emblazoned the center.
The design team — under the direction
of Steven Sandblom, director of
campus dining — included 13 chefs led by
JWU executive pastry chef Jennifer
Schouppe ’01. The project took 80 hours
from concept to final decoration. The show’s
crew filmed portions of the behind-the-scenes
activity at Cuisinart Center for
Culinary Excellence. An estimated 25,000
people travelled to the city’s Dunkin’ Donuts
Center to try out for the talent competition
which began airing in September. — M.W.
Advice from an all-star event planner, and X Factor comes to JWU.
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