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Industry Update

By Selena Fragassi


Notre Dame Offers Overnight Guests More with Morris Inn
A recent $30 million renovation and expansion has given this Indiana campus hotel (originally built in 1952) a touch of the glam life. Inside the doors of the Gothic-style building guests are greeted to (or greeted by?) bright golden walls and navy furnishings with even more room to enjoy. The overall size of Morris Inn has increased to 137,500 square feet, which means 150 guestrooms (up from 92), a brand-new 300-person ballroom and attached pre-function space and 30,000 square feet of meeting space next to the Notre Dame Conference Center. Two new dining venues were also added, including pub-style Rohr’s and the outdoor spot Fireside Terrace, which both complement the already beloved Sorin’s Restaurant. With all the new amenities, the hotel has also doubled its staff to further meet guests’ needs.

Top Chef: Cambridge College’s Culinary Whiz Gets National Award
Everyone knows good food is good food. So when Stuart Conibear won the prestigious Elior UK Chef of the Year Award in April, it came as little shock since the executive chef has been pleasing guests for a number of years with his creative culinary delights at Downing College in Cambridge, East of England. Conibear was honored in front of 250 guests and host Natasha Kaplinsky at the Awards for Excellence presented by Elior, one of Europe’s leading contract catering companies at 650 client sites. The group chose Conibear for his continued commitment to culinary excellence and consistent performance in 2013. His ultimate prize was not just well-deserved recognition but also a seven-night trip to Morocco this summer where he is likely to find even more menu inspiration.

Kenyon College is Enjoying Award Season with Four Nods in 2014
This Gambler, Ohio campus has welcomed an honor roll of achievement with a slew of prestigious accolades since January. First, a Princeton Review survey found that a majority of 126,000 students at 378 top colleges chose Kenyon as the school with the best athletic facilities. The publication quickly followed with a second award, naming Kenyon one of the Best Value Colleges for 2014, recognized for providing “stellar academics at an affordable cost.” There’s also the great scenery at Kenyon, which found to be #3 of the 41 most Instagram-worthy schools and Travelers Today said was the #1 “prettiest college campus” for its Gothic buildings, centralized layout and beautiful dining hall. With so much chatter, you just might have to see it for yourself.

Georgia Institute of Technology is Now Open for Registration
One of the newest features available from the conference department at this Atlanta campus is full registration for your group sessions. Whether you expect 50 or 5,000 people, the staff at GA Tech will help facilitate every step of the process from start to finish. Some examples of added features include creating and maintaining an original registration website for signup and tracking, accepting convenient credit card payments, sending automated e-mails to confirmed guests and financial reporting as you wrap up your event. Packages and prices for services vary.

Emory University Takes the LEED with New Certified Building
With the opening of Raoul Residence Hall this fall, the Atlanta university welcomes its sixth LEED certified building to its main campus. The building can house up to 305 guests with single and double rooms and double suites as well as private and communal bathroom options. Each room comes with cable access, air conditioning, secure wireless Internet access, a lounge on each floor and laundry room. Raoul Hall is named for Eleonore Raoul Greene (1888-1983), the first woman graduate of Emory Law School who was a lifelong supporter of equal rights for women.

Trinity Hall Toasts the Opening of Its Newest Dining Center
The Cambridge College community in East of England recently unveiled its latest feat at Trinity Hall: a new dining venue that refurbishes original features while incorporating the latest technology. Roof beams were restored to their natural oak finish, ornamental screens were redecorated and a grand fireplace was repaired and given a polish to keep the building’s history intact. To bring it into the modern age, a new multi-level lighting system was installed as was a comprehensive under-floor heating system while sound upgrades include a state-of-the-art PA system and acoustic lining in the ceiling to reduce noise exposure. The dining hall can seat up to 150 people (previously 110), including 16 seats in the re-opened Minstrels’ Gallery. The hall also has the flexibility to seat 120 theatre-style or 72 cabaret-style.

Southern Connecticut University Heads in Right Direction with New Space
Summer groups will be delighted to hear about the recent renovations at the New Haven campus. The private Farnham Programming Space can accommodate 355 standing or 120 seated with a number of added features including Free Wi-Fi services, two large television screens that connect to BluRay (should this be Blu-ray?), cable, DVD, iPads and laptops, an iPod dock and microphone and stereo hookups. While food preparation is not available onsite, there are a number of dining options nearby.