Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
November 08, 2002
U of G receives gift from McDonald's Canada to expand restaurant, education
The University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) has received a $275,000 gift from McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited to help finance the expansion of the school’s teaching restaurant.
The announcement was made Thursday night by Bill Johnson, president and CEO of McDonald’s Canada, during a special dinner at the University. The dinner was in honour of his serving as HTM’s 2002 executive-in-residence, a program that gives students a chance to learn from successful and prominent industry leaders. Johnson spent the week on campus speaking to graduate and undergraduate classes, teaching courses and giving a public lecture. The $250,000 gift will be complemented by a $25,000 contribution from Grant Ford, who owns several McDonald’s franchises in Guelph and Fergus, bringing the total gift amount to $275,000.
“On behalf of our Guelph licensee, Grant Ford, and everyone at McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, I am very pleased to make this contribution to the University of Guelph,” Johnson said. “We have enjoyed a long association with the University and are proud to fund the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s new atrium and kitchen renovation. We hope that by helping create this state-of-the-art facility, we will enable the University of Guelph to continue its legacy of education excellence.”
The gift is being made as part of the Campaign for the University of Guelph. “Bill’s announcement of this generous gift provides us with a leadership investment,” said president Mordechai Rozanski. “It is the initial support for the expansion of our award-winning teaching restaurant and for the construction of an atrium. These projects will allow us to increase the capacity of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and continue to provide the essential work of educating a high-quality hospitality and tourism workforce. It will also allow us to advance one of our core values, which is to increase our students’ opportunities to learn by doing.”
The $3.5-million expansion will double the restaurant’s food production space by expanding into the current dining room. A new multi-purpose atrium will be built for use as an 85-seat dining room, lecture space and special-event facility. The restaurant, which has won the Eat Smart! Award several times for its commitment to high-quality food and food safety, allows third-year students to apply their multi-disciplinary study of general management in planning, purchasing, storage, production, marketing and service. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner several days a week to the campus and community.
“The hospitality and tourism industry needs more well-qualified people, but our program is currently limited by the size of our teaching restaurant,” said HTM director John Walsh. “The expansion is designed to meet our need for more space and the industry’s need for more and better qualified people. It will allow us to incorporate new food preparation technologies and update our information systems for reservations, table management, ordering and productivity.”
Guelph’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, founded more than 30 years ago, is known as the top school for hospitality education in Canada and is among the top three in North America. It started the highly successful executive-in-residence program 12 years ago to allow students, researchers and faculty to connect directly with industry.
Johnson began his career with McDonald’s Canada in 1970 as a crew member. He rose through the ranks and was named vice-president, restaurant development, in 1992. In 1994, he relocated to Mexico as president of McDonald’s Mexico, where he expanded franchise operations and formed Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities of Mexico and oversaw the eventual opening of that country’s first Ronald McDonald House. He returned to Canada in 1998 as executive vice-president and was named president and CEO in 2002.
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