Johnson & Wales University

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Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales University Logo.svg
MottoThe Wildcat Way; Pride, Courage, Character and Community
Endowment$263.78 million (2015)[1]
ChancellorMim L. Runey LP.D.
Students7,357 total
5,676 (Providence Campus Fall 2020) [1]
1,681 (Charlotte Campus 2018-19) [2]
Undergraduates6,801 total
5,120 (Providence Campus Fall 2020) [3]
1,681 (Charlotte Campus 2018-19) [4]
Postgraduates556 (Providence Campus Fall 2020) [5]
N/A for Charlotte Campus [6]
United States

41°49′12″N 71°24′46″W / 41.819953°N 71.412805°W / 41.819953; -71.412805Coordinates: 41°49′12″N 71°24′46″W / 41.819953°N 71.412805°W / 41.819953; -71.412805 (Providence campus)
CampusUrban, 176 acres (0.71 km2)[2]
ColorsBlue and white

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) is a private university with its main campus in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded as a business school in 1914 by Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales, JWU currently has 9,247[3] graduate, undergraduate, and online students across its campuses.[4] The university is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.



Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales

Johnson & Wales Business School was founded in September 1914 in Providence, Rhode Island. Founders Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales met as students at Pennsylvania State Normal School in Millersville, Pennsylvania. Years later, both were teaching at Bryant and Stratton business school in Providence (now Bryant University) when they decided to team up and open a business school. The school opened with one student and one typewriter on Hope Street in Providence.[5] The school soon moved to a larger site on Olney Street, and later moved downtown to 36 Exchange Street to better serve returning soldiers after World War I.[5] The curriculum in the early part of the 20th Century included bookkeeping, typing, shorthand, English, and Mathematics.[5] The school admitted both men and women.[5]


Statue of Morris Gaebe on the Providence campus

In June 1947, founders Johnson and Wales, facing old age and illness, sold Johnson & Wales Business School to partners (and Navy buddies) Edward Triangelo and Morris Gaebe.[6][5] At this time the school had roughly 100 students.[6]

Triangelo and Gaebe served as co-directors as the school grew rapidly. The school earned national accreditation in 1954.[6] In 1960, Johnson & Wales was accredited as a junior college.[5]


The school became a registered nonprofit organization in 1963.[5] Edward P. Triangolo served as the college's first president from 1963 to 1969.[7]

During the 1960s and 1970s, as Providence hotels and department stores fled to the suburbs, Johnson and Wales took the opportunity to expand its downtown presence.[8] The university purchased the former Crown Hotel in 1966, and both the former Dreyfus Hotel and the Gladdings Department Store building in 1975.[8]

Morris Gaebe served as president from 1969 to 1989, and later chancellor.[6] Gaebe introduced the hospitality program in 1972, despite skepticism from the college's board.[6] Enrollment in the program grew from 141 students in 1973 to 3,000 in 1983.[6] Eventually the school's culinary programs became widely renowned.[6] The college officially became Johnson & Wales University in 1988, known informally as JWU.[5][6]

By 2016, the university had 16,000 students and more than 2,400 employees across campuses in four cities.[7] Degree programs were offered in business, culinary arts, arts and sciences, nutrition, education, hospitality, physician assistant studies, engineering, and design.[7]

On June 25, 2020, the school announced it would shut down its Denver and North Miami campuses at the end of the 2020–21 school year.[9]


Downcity Providence campus

Johnson & Wales University operates campuses in four locations:

Two previous campuses in Charleston, South Carolina (opened in 1984) and Norfolk, Virginia (opened in 1986), were gradually consolidated into the Charlotte campus, starting in September 2003 and ending in May 2006 with the closures of these campuses.


Centennial Hall on the (former) Denver campus
Wildcat Center at the Harborside campus in Providence

In addition to the on-campus academic buildings and dorms, the university also operates hotels used as practicum education facilities for the university's Hotel & Lodging Management, Food Service Management, and Culinary Arts degree programs. The university also owns the Doubletree Hotel Charlotte-Gateway Village at the Charlotte Campus.

The Wildcat Center is the athletic facility of Johnson & Wales University. Denver was the only campus to officially have that name, until the Providence campus renamed its gym as well (formerly the Harborside Recreation Center) and the construction of the Charlotte campus athletic facility. It is home to the athletic program of this branch of the university, and was home to the ABA's Colorado Storm in 2004. In Denver, Wildcat Center is located at the northwest part of the Johnson & Wales campus. The Wildcat Centers, fully renovated as of the summer of 2009, are NAIA and NCAA regulation size, and seat over 600. In Denver the fitness center has tripled in size, and the locker rooms have increased from two to four, to accommodate game day needs as well as general use.[10] The Providence Wildcat Center is located on the Harborside Campus, and has many similar features. The fitness center is already large enough, at twice the size of the downtown center. The Charlotte Wildcat Center is located adjacent to the Cedar Hall South dorm building. The center covers 33,000 square feet and is the newest Wildcat Center to be built.

Providence now features the Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletic Complex, located on the Harborside campus, which hosts baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.[citation needed]


The John Hazen White Center is home to the College of Arts & Sciences

JWU currently has six academic units across each of its campuses:[11][12][13][14]

  • College of Business
  • College of Culinary Arts
  • College of Hospitality
  • College of Health & Wellness
  • College of Engineering & Design
  • John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences

The Providence campus is home to the College of Business, the Hospitality College, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the College of Engineering & Design.[15] This campus is home to several additional academic units: the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School and the College of Culinary Arts.[16] It also has the School of Education, which offers specialized master's and doctoral degree programs.[17] Students just entering the field can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T. Program), and current teachers can earn a Master of Education degree (M.Ed.). For current teachers who want to advance their degree, there is a doctoral program where they can earn their Ed.D. Johnson & Wales University also offers 11 online bachelor's degrees and nine online master's degree programs.

The Cuisinart Center for Culinary Excellence, Harborside campus in Providence

Johnson & Wales University is well known for its culinary arts program, but was first founded as business and hospitality programs. The university is the largest food service educator in the world. JWU is one of the top three hospitality colleges, according to the 2010 rankings released by the American Universities Admissions Program, which ranks American universities according to their international reputation.[18] JWU is home to the 39th largest college of business in the United States.

Equine Center in Rehoboth, Massachusetts

JWU's academic year is divided into three trimesters, each 11 weeks long, where the standard fall and spring semesters are replaced with fall, winter, and spring trimesters. With the start of the 2018–2019 academic year, JWU is offering all graduate degree programs, except for the master's-level education programs, on a semester calendar. The conversion to semesters will be completed in fall of 2020 for all undergraduate, continuing education and master's-level education programs offered at the university.[19] Classes are also offered during the summer months, creating a fourth academic period. This results in an earlier spring break and a typical summer break from May to September. During fall, winter, and spring terms, students usually take three to four courses a term. Students in the culinary program are enrolled in five nine-day lab sessions, which take place Monday through Thursday each week. Such courses are only available for full-time students.

Greek life[edit]

Providence campuses[edit]

Snowden Hall, downcity Providence campus
Center for Science and Innovation (2016)

The Providence Downcity and Harborside campuses currently offer membership in 15 fraternities and sororities as well as two social fellowships. These are organized within four groups who act as the governing bodies: the InterFraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Council (PHC), the United Cultural Council (UCC), and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). While all of these organizations are nationally or internationally affiliated, the university oversees the Greek community on campus. Not recognized by the university, the Providence campuses are also home to a number of "off-campus" fraternities. Deeply rooted in tradition, some of these organizations make up the origins of Greek life at the university and continue to exist and recruit new members without the sanction of the school.



Social fellowships or other[edit]

North Miami campus[edit]



Denver campus[edit]

Charlotte campus[edit]




The teams of all campuses of Johnson & Wales University are known as the Wildcats.

Willie T. Wildcat[20] (better known as Wildcat Willie) is the official costumed mascot. The suit was redesigned and revealed at the annual family weekend on October 16, 2013, as an early start to the school's centennial year (2014). Previously the costumes had been very different across the four campuses, but the new design replaced all former costumes. The new design came from Devon Tsinzo (Providence Class of 2015), who won the redesign contest. The new mascot was made by BAM! Mascots. Willie appears at home games, alumni events, and other special events. He is played by multiple students, meaning that JWU can accept requests for him to appear at many events. Although the various campuses compete either in the NAIA, USCAA, or NCAA Division III, Willie follows the rules of a Division I mascot, including never breaking character.

During the 1980s and 1990s the official mascot at the JWU Providence campus was Griff the Griffin, a creature with the head of an eagle, body of a lion and tail of a dragon.

Providence campuses[edit]

JWU Providence (Downcity and Harborside) teams participate as members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Wildcats are a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, equestrian, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, sailing, soccer, tennis, volleyball and wrestling, while women's sports include basketball, cross country, equestrian, lacrosse, soccer, softball, field hockey, tennis, ice hockey and volleyball. The Wildcat men's ice hockey team competes as an associate member of the New England Hockey Conference.

North Miami campus[edit]

JWU North Miami teams participated as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Wildcats were a member of The Sun Conference. Men's sports included basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field, while women's sports included basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, volleyball and track & field. As part of the North Miami campus's closure in 2021, on July 28, 2020, JWU published a memorandum that detailed the discontinuation of all sports seasons and competitions there.[21]

Charlotte campus[edit]

JWU Charlotte teams participate as a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) in the Eastern Metro Athletic Conference (EMAC).[22] Men's sports include basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, and tennis; while women's sports include basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. JWU Charlotte Lady Wildcats Basketball team won the 2018 UCSAA Div II National Championship.

Denver campus[edit]

JWU Denver teams participated as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Wildcats were a member of the Association of Independent Institutions (AII). Men's sports included basketball, cross country, soccer, track (indoor/outdoor), and lacrosse, while women's sports included basketball, cross country, soccer, lacrosse, track (indoor/outdoor) and volleyball. Women's lacrosse was an affiliate member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

JWU Denver announced on February 21, 2017, that it would transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division III, a multi-year journey commencing with an "exploratory year" in fall 2017. The school plans to compete as a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference beginning with 2018–19 season, where it was paired up as a travel partner with the SCAC's Colorado College.[23]

As part of the Denver campus's closure at the end of the 2020–21 school year, JWU announced on June 26, 2020, that all athletic programs there were terminated and that student-athletes were granted releases to talk with other schools.[24]


Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-01-31. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  2. ^ "Johnson & Wales University, Providence Campus Fact Sheet" (PDF). JWU. 2016-03-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-26. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  3. ^ "Johnson & Wales Annual Fact Sheet" (PDF).
  4. ^ "About Johnson & Wales University". Archived from the original on 2000-11-09.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Frank L. Grzyb and Russell DeSimone (2014). Remarkable Women of Rhode Island. History Press.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Honoring Chancellor Emeritus Morris Gaebe (1920-2016)". JWU News. Providence, RI: Johnson & Wales University. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Miller, G. Wayne (14 October 2016). "Man who oversaw growth of J&W called 'visionary'". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  8. ^ a b Coren, Samuel (2 May 2016). "Interface: Providence and the Populist Roots of a Downtown Revival". Journal of Planning History. 16 (1): 4–7. doi:10.1177/1538513216645620. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Sustainable Future". Johnson & Wales University. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  10. ^ "Denver - Johnson & Wales University".
  11. ^ "College of Business". Johnson & Wales University. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  12. ^ "College of Culinary Arts". Johnson & Wales University. Archived from the original on 2014-02-23. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  13. ^ "The Hospitality College". Johnson & Wales University. Archived from the original on 2002-12-21.
  14. ^ "School of Arts & Sciences". Johnson & Wales University. Archived from the original on 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
  15. ^ "College of Culinary Arts". Johnson & Wales University.
  16. ^ "Academic Services". Johnson & Wales University. Archived from the original on 2017-07-07. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
  17. ^ "School of Education". Johnson &Wales University. Archived from the original on 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  18. ^ "Us Universities Rankings". Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  19. ^ "Conversion to Semesters | Johnson & Wales University". Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  20. ^ "New Wildcat Willie Revealed" (Press release). JWU. 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-11-13. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  21. ^ "JWU Discontinues Athletics". July 28, 2020.
  22. ^ "JWU Announces Formation of New Athletic Conference". Johnson & Wales University Charlotte. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Johnson & Wales (Denver) Becomes Ninth SCAC Member". Southern Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  24. ^ "JWU Denver ends all athletic programs". Johnson & Wales University - Denver. 2020-06-26. Retrieved 2020-06-28.
  25. ^ "Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts Inducted".
  26. ^ "Seafood Choices Alliance – Michelle Bernstein". Archived from the original on 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2007-07-02.
  27. ^ "Sen. Calkin sworn in as General Assembly convenes". Retrieved 2021-10-19.
  28. ^ "Stephanie Cmar". Bravo TV Official Site. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  29. ^ "Tyler Florence".
  30. ^ "5 Questions: Chris Hastings". Andrew Zimmern.
  31. ^ Archived 2007-06-29 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Alcorn, Stacey (30 April 2016). "How to Be the Change – An Interview with Dr. Thomas McGovern". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  33. ^ "Charles Rosa – Official UFC® Fighter Profile".

External links[edit]