Darden Restaurants Foundation, of Orlando, Fla., awarded the $100,000 gift in the Human Environmental Sciences Dining Room at the Rivers Building at noon. In recognition of this gift, the dining room –which also serves as a student training restaurant – was dedicated as the Darden Restaurants Foundation/Red Lobster Dining Room.
The gift will:
"We are pleased that a company with the stature of Darden Restaurants is recognizing the efforts of our students and faculty," said Dr. Karla Hughes, dean of the School of Human Environmental Sciences. "This generous gift will enhance our ability to attract outstanding students and provide them with the best possible educational opportunities."
Red Lobster, with more than 650 restaurants, is Darden’s largest restaurant company. It has been recruiting ECU Human Environmental Sciences students for management positions since the mid-1990s.
"Red Lobster founder Bill Darden often commented that the only competitive edge we have is our people," said Darden’s CEO Joe Lee. "Our gift to East Carolina University provides one more way we can help the hospitality industry by investing today in tomorrow’s leaders."
The Darden Foundation has contributed more than $19 million over the past 13 years to programs that help create innovative solutions in the areas of education, social services, nutrition, arts and culture, and the preservation of natural resources. Darden Restaurants officials believe that being a good corporate citizen means providing outstanding dining experiences, being a premier employer, and giving back to the communities in which it does business.
The Darden Restaurants Foundation is wholly funded by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants Inc., which is the world’s largest casual dining company. With more than 1,200 restaurants operating under the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Smokey Bones brands, Darden Restaurants has annual sales of nearly $4 billion and employs more than 120,000 employees.
The School of Human Environmental Sciences at ECU serves about 700 undergraduate students, including 400 in the hospitality management program.
ECU News Bureau