Auburn University dedicates Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center

The Tony & LibbaRane Culinary Science Center, a premier hospitality management school at Auburn University, was officially dedicated last week.

Dignitaries and university officials gathered on the green space of the new center to officially commemorate the world’s first campus building and the world’s unique academic resource.

“This is a moment that was born out of what initially seemed like a dream,” said Susan Hubbard, dean of the College of Human Sciences. “An academic center like no other in the world, offering superior hospitality management education for students and superior hospitality experiences for the visitor – and giving the world a chance to see Auburn like never before.”

“The Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center will shine a spotlight on Auburn and Alabama as an incubator for world-class hospitality talent,” said Hans van der Reijden, Founder and CEO of Ithaca Hospitality Partners.

Both Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts and Bob Dumas, President pro tem of the Auburn Board of Trustees, commended everyone involved in the project for exemplifying the university’s mission.

“As a land grant institution, our mission is to put practical knowledge in the hands of those who can use it to create economic opportunity and improve our lives,” said Roberts. “I believe the Rane Culinary Science Center will do just that.”

Dumas called it a historic day for Auburn as it “recognises Auburn’s mission as a land scholarship institution to improve their community, state, nation and the world with exceptional facilities and experiences for our students, the Auburn family as a whole and so many others.” ”

Personally, Dumas said he was also happy for his friend and fellow board member Jimmy Rane. The 1968 Auburn graduate and the Rane family gave the leading gift to start a culinary science center in Auburn in 2017. The Board of Trustees would later recognize the family’s commitment to the project by naming the facility after Rane’s parents.

“I know it must be a dream come true for you Jimmy to see this amazing structure and all that it represents and to know that it carries the name and memory of your father and mother, Tony and Libba Rane, so honorable,” said Dumas. “This was truly a project of love and it will forever remind those who grace the halls of this building of the great devotion Tony and Libba had to travel, cooking and hospitality – passions which they generously shared with others.”

The building may bear his family name, but Rane chose to focus on his beloved university.

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“This is a day for Auburn,” he said. “I owe so much to this institution, my teachers and the administrators who have helped me. I’m trying to remember them and honor them for what a difference they’ve made in my life.”

Rane doesn’t shy away from being the first in his family to graduate from college or the fact that his time at Auburn wasn’t easy for him. And yet his love for Auburn has never wavered.

“Auburn is a wonderful place and I will never be able to repay this university for the many great things it has done for me,” he said.

A shared vision

If creating a unique culinary science center in Auburn wasn’t a dream, it certainly was a vision born nearly 20 years ago from the work of several College of Human Sciences leaders, including Hubbard and then-Dean June Henton. Horst Schulze, founder and former CEO of Ritz-Carlton, even recommended that Auburn create an advanced education in hospitality management.

The team researched for years, eventually visiting globally recognized programs and institutions in countries around the world including Singapore, Australia, South Africa and throughout Europe and the United States.

Rane said the team found that certain centers in one area of ​​hospitality management, such as g. cuisine or distillation, are the best, but none is the best and none offers everything under one roof.

Martin O’Neill, now head of the college’s School of Hospitality Management, who made many of these trips with Van der Reijden and others, said Auburn’s program has long been known for its excellent service.

Now, with a superior educational institution, Auburn will be known for much more.

“Many programs nationally and internationally may have a teaching restaurant or affiliation with a management company that manages a hotel. Our students have that and more,” said O’Neill. “They have a wine education. They have distilled spirits. You have a microbrewery. They have an a la carte training kitchen. They have a lot of food training kitchen. They have a bakery and confectionery kitchen. You have so much to do.”

With the added vision and support of the Auburn University Board of Trustees, particularly Rane and Raymond Harbert, the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center came to fruition in August, cementing Auburn as the home of an educational institution unparalleled in the world.

“The Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center has already changed the landscape of Auburn and recognized the hospitality industry as a whole,” Hubbard said.

It is truly unique as the center brings together all components of the hospitality management industry under one roof. No other hospitality management facility in the world has it.

Students will experience first-hand what it takes to learn, practice and master culinary skills and techniques from recognized faculty, to work and operate in an elegant restaurant with world-renowned chefs and staff, and a luxury hotel by top hoteliers to operate.

You will learn about brewing, winemaking and distilling. You will learn from a master sommelier and other beverage experts from across the country. Students will also assist in the planning and execution of events on the center’s rooftop garden and street-level green spaces.

The massive building — covering 142,000 square feet and six floors at East Thach Avenue and South College Street — is an example of experiential learning, offering students traditional lectures and real-world experiences under one roof.

Roberts, who has “long touted that our students’ education takes place both inside and outside of the classroom,” added that visitors will “see this in real time every time they eat, stay or attend an event at the center.” “.

By experiencing the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center, guests and visitors help educate future hospitality professionals.

Ana Plana, an associate professor in the School of Hospitality Management at Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences, speaks to guests visiting the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center at a dedication ceremony Sept. 15. (Contribution)

Unlike any other

The Rane Culinary Science Center is unlike any other building in Auburn as it is the first campus building to combine an important academic component with revenue-generating elements. Proceeds from the Laurel Hotel & Spa, a teaching hotel and spa, and 1856, a teaching restaurant, and other center facilities will help fund additional specialist staff such as a master sommelier and chef-in-residence. under other aspects.

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Appropriately, the center will also be home to the School of Hospitality Management, which offers Alabama’s only professionally accredited hospitality management program. The center is expected to be a magnet for students currently enrolled in premier culinary programs in high schools in Alabama and across the country. It will also be a destination for alumni and new guests who enjoy gastronomy and gastronomic tourism.

“This state-of-the-art facility, where not a single detail has been overlooked, will not only be an asset to students, staff and our community, but will also attract visitors from all parts of the world,” said Van der Reijden. “We envision the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center as a destination for lovers of good food, drink, hospitality and educational opportunities.”

“This was built for our students. This was built for education,” Hubbard said. “Every aspect of this facility has an educational mission, be it the incubator in the food hall, the laboratories on the first floor, or the living experience. Our students will take home real-life experiences from here alongside their educational experiences.”

Rane, a longtime member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees, was delighted to attend the dedication of the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center on September 15, his birthday. (Contribution)

‘Gathering Around Good Food’

Rane’s interest in supporting the college’s plan for a culinary science center grew when he heard about Van der Reijden’s passion for making the dream a reality. Van der Reijden’s enthusiasm reminded Rane of his own father.

Tony Rane was the son of Italian immigrants and became a successful entrepreneur with several restaurants, retail outlets and hotel chains.

Following in his father’s entrepreneurial footsteps, Jimmy Rane founded Great Southern Wood Preserving Inc. in Abbeville, Alabama in 1970. He is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the wood products manufacturer.

Five years ago, the Board of Trustees approved the naming of the future culinary science center in honor of Jimmy Rane and the Rane family and proclaimed it the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting Tony and Libba Rane, and I know their love of gathering around good food and spreading the joy of friendship and family will live on here at the center that bears their name,” Hubbard said. “Thank you, Jimmy and the entire Rane family for sharing your love and passion for family and Auburn University in a way that will shape future leaders and bring extraordinary experiences to all of us today.”

This story originally appeared on Auburn University’s website.

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