UA students take over Crescent Hotel, offer evening of dinner, dancing, historic accommodations

Feb. 28, 2011
Contact Information:

Blake Bard, Director of Development, Bumpers College
479-575-2270, bsbard@uark.edu

Dr. Robert Harrington, Associate Professor, Food, Human Nutrition and Hospitality
479-575-4700, rharring@uark.edu

Fred Miller, University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture
479-575-5647 / fmiller@uark.edu

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Sue Yang checks in visitors to the 1886 Crescent Hotel

University of Arkansas student Sue Yang checks in visitors to the 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs for A Class Act. The annual event raises money for scholarships that help support students in the hospitality and restaurant management program.
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Ethan Altom makes appetizers

Hospitality and restaurant management student Ethan Altom makes appetizers of White River Chicken Ragout with Suggin Sauce during a wine tasting recpetion and silent auction to kick off A Class Act.
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Ethan Altom, Heath Stephens, Lonnie Terrell, Robert Harrington, Sarah Wilson and Rosemarie Test

Hospitality and restaurant management students and faculty, from left, Ethan Altom, Heath Stephens, Lonnie Terrell, Robert Harrington, Sarah Wilson and Rosemarie Test prepare the main dish plates for A Class Act.
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Melanie Brockway, Kay Kilgore, Donna Spaght and Cory Thompson

Hospitality and restaurant management student Melanie Brockway serves the main course to guests, from left, Kay Kilgore, Donna Spaght and Cory Thompson during A Class Act.
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VIDEO: University of Arkansas students in the Hospitality and Restaurant Management program took over the 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs for "A Class Act," a unique learning, networking and fund-raising event.

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. -- Hospitality and restaurant management students from the University of Arkansas took over the 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs Feb. 18 to offer guests an evening of dining and dancing and a night in the historic hotel for “A Class Act,” an annual fund-raising and networking event.

Montine McNulty, executive director of the Arkansas Hospitality Association, was presented the Marty Roenigk Industry Award or Hospitality during the event to recognize her substantial contributions to the hospitality field, said Robert Harrington, holder of the Twenty-First Century Endowed Chair in Hospitality. The award was instituted in 2010 in honor of the late Marty Roenigk, owner of the Crescent Hotel.

“Marty’s lifelong actions reflect the core meaning of the term ‘hospitality,’” Harrington said. “Therefore, this recognition is bestowed on someone who has made significant contributions to the hospitality industry in Arkansas, nationally or internationally.”

Hospitality and restaurant management is a concentration of the food, human nutrition and hospitality major in the School of Human Environmental Sciences, part of Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the university.

Sixty-seven guests for the event purchased packages that included a night in the Crescent, a wine tasting reception and silent auction, a three-course meal of foods inspired by Arkansas cuisine in the hotel’s Crystal Dining Room and dancing to a live band.

Some 50 students handled all food services and many hotel services during the two-day event.

“A Class Act is a unique learning experience for the students,” Harrington said. “They host a high-end social event in the reception, manage the restaurant and dining room as they prepare and serve the dinner, and they are able to be involved with an historic hotel as they assist in the checking in of guests and plan the event.”

The event raised about $10,000 this year, said Blake Bard, Bumpers College director of development. Proceeds from the 2010 Class Act provided scholarships for 21 students in the 2010-2011 school year and helped cover costs of attending professional and educational meetings.

Finally, “A Class Act” serves as a recruiting event for students and representatives of hospitality and food industries. Harrington said nine recruiters representing companies from around Arkansas and across the nation attended the event.

“They were able to see the students putting what they’ve learned into action Friday evening,” Harrington said. “Saturday morning, students had the opportunity to sit down with the professionals and interview for jobs and internships in the industry.”

Bard said, “A Class Act serves as a tremendous event that brings students and industry together. It’s a unique fundraiser that has raised just over $30,000 for the hospitality and restaurant management program since it was first held in 2009.”

“Each year, because of the strong relationships with the hospitality and restaurant industry, and the quality of the students in the program, the level of support has increased and I believe will continue to do so for years to come,” Bard said.

Harrington and Bard expressed gratitude to the hotel’s owner, Elise Roenigk, general manager Jack Moyer and director of sales Jodie English, who not only provided the use of the hotel and restaurant, but also instructed students in management practices and helped them make sales calls for the event packages.