Wilkes Community College held the dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Stone Culinary Center on Tuesday, August 27. The new facility includes a hot lab, cold lab, bake lab, library, office space, and a dining room that gives students restaurant-style practical experience in set-up, preparation, and service of meals.

Allison Phillips, WCC Foundation executive director, welcomed friends, family, faculty, and staff and thanked them for coming. In addition, she thanked the following individuals and groups for their assistance in the preparation for the dedication ceremony: Ms. Connie McNeill for the flower arrangements, the gardening staff and horticulture students for the landscaping, the custodial staff, and Chefs Wallace and Nilo, as well as the culinary students.

Phillips stated, “I would like to take a moment to remember one special culinary participant if I may. You will remember him for his love of NC State and wearing that bright red jacket. We remember him for his membership with our board of directors here at the Foundation, his leadership with our annual fund drive, and his love of the culinary program. We were fortunate that he served as a Trustee as well and was the champion for this project. He was the first one to give to the culinary campaign!  And with his untimely passing in January of 2018 his family chose the culinary campaign for his memorials. We would like to thank June and the family and would like to announce that one of our tables will be forever reserved in memory of our friend Bob Hege.”

Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president stated, “I would like to thank the WCC Board of Trustees, the WCC Foundation Board, the Wilkes County Commissioners, and everyone here for their support of this project. I also want to thank the entire Stone family for their generosity. Having Larry’s leadership on the board of trustees, his mentorship, and his involvement with the college has been very invaluable to me.”

Kristen Macemore, WCC dean of Business and Public Services Technologies stated, “On behalf of Chef Celena Nilo, Chef Chuck Wallace, Joe Exposito, Chair of our Public Service programs, and everyone in the Business and Public Service Technologies division we welcome you and thank you for your continued support of the Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts programs. We are excited to celebrate this milestone with you. Providing instruction in this exceptional environment helps our instructors prepare students for employment in a variety of hospitality settings. Training on modern equipment gives our students a leg-up for higher-level positions when entering the field. Our Culinary and Baking & Pastry Arts programs have stood out in our community college system for years, but this transition takes us to a new level. We currently have a total of twenty-one freshmen students enrolled for the fall semester. In addition, we have five second-year Culinary Arts students and six second-year Baking and Pastry Arts students enrolled.”

Steve Stone, Stone family representative, stated, “I would like to thank the WCC Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, and WCC faculty and staff for all their efforts in getting us to this point today. It is really an honor to be here today to speak at the dedication of this beautiful culinary arts center. To see the name on the center driving up and see the plaque honoring dad is humbling and a source of pride and a memory I know my family will cherish forever.”

Clyde D. Stone was well known in Wilkes County for his excellent cooking. Stone served as Sergeant First Class at the local National Guard Amory and spent over twenty years in the Armory kitchen preparing meals for his fellow guardsman. He and his brother James catered many large events in Wilkes County throughout the years. The culinary center commemorates his love of cooking and his generous spirit and was given in loving memory by his children, Diane Stone Swaim, Larry D. Stone, Susan Stone-Hawkins, and Steve M. Stone.

Mr.  Terry Bumgarner, Chairman of the WCC Board of Trustees, dedicated Stone Culinary Center in honor of Clyde D. Stone.  Mr. Arnold Lakey, WCC Foundation Board president escorted Mrs. Stone up to cut the ribbon.

The Culinary and Baking and Pastry Arts students prepared an appetizing selection of freshly made breads, savory spreads, and desserts for the ceremony for the ceremony and tours of the facility were given.  For more information about the Culinary Arts or Baking and Pastry Arts programs visit our website at www.wilkescc.edu.