Rosen College of Hospitality photo

The University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management received a $1.5 million donation from the Marriott Foundation during the month of June.

The whole endowment will be used to build and create a third food service laboratory, otherwise known as a mock kitchen, which will resemble a standard size commercial kitchen.

Susan Vernon-Devlin, assistant director of public relations of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, said that it will have more modern equipment and appliances than the others that were built in 2014.

“It will include all sorts of kitchen equipment: stoves, ovens, mixers, blenders and things like that,” she said. “Just anything that they would need to use to prepare food.”

Vernon said the space will accommodate a class size, depending on how many students are in a class, ranging from eight to 30 students.

Matthew Temmer, a junior majoring in hospitality management, thinks the creation of a third food lab raises the Rosen College to another level in the restaurant community.

“The bigger we grow in terms of not just space but also students, it’s going to make us more reputable and more significant in the Orlando community,” Temmer said. “So I think it’s really going to help kind of put our mark more on the map.”

Vernon said there is an average of 3,500 students enrolled in the Rosen College, and having a third food service lab will allow for more students to take food service classes.

Rachelle Samson, Rosen College senior, said there are multiple benefits that come with having a new food lab.

“The benefit of having a third food service lab is definitely organization due to more space,” Samson said. “[Also], more opportunity for experience because if there’s going to be more room, then more people are going to be eligible to take the class, so there’ s going to be more opportunities to learn, [more] preparation for the real world and making you ahead of the game.”

Vernon said the Marriott is just one of the many industry partners that contribute to the education of students at the Rosen College in different ways, like funding and internships. 

Although Marriott's funding will be used for the new food service lab, Temmer had a new idea about what else it could have been used for, or what should be taken into consideration for the next endowment.

“In the same way that the restaurant management has a mock lab, it would be cool to see if they could make a mock hotel room or a hotel front desk to kind of recreate scenarios that the students would need for the real world,” Temmer said.

He mentioned his vision for all four Rosen College undergraduate majors to be able to take advantage of future fundings.

“I just like the whole idea of the Rosen College ... being a laboratory for hospitality," Temmer said. "It would be really neat to see other ways that the other majors could take advantage of the things that they are learning in class and get more hands-on experiences.”

Samson and Temmer aren't expecting to take classes in the new food service lab due to their upcoming graduation dates. However, they both said they will likely visit the new space once it is complete.

Samson said she is happy future students are going to get this experience.

“This new acquisition will teach students to work towards something bigger than themselves,” Samson said.

The new food service lab has not begun construction yet, and there is no estimate as to when it will open and be ready for use.

Originally published on June 30, 2017. 

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