Stone Culinary Center

STONE CULINARY CENTER on the upper campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro was dedicated in a ceremony Wednesday afternoon.

Wilkes Community College dedicated its new Stone Culinary Center in a ceremony at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

It was named after the late Clyde D. Stone, father of WCC trustee Larry Stone.

Larry Stone, his brother, Steve, their sisters, Diane Stone Swaim and Susan Stone-Hawkins, and their mother, Irene, were on hand for the event.

The building was made possible by a donation from the Stone family.

The new facility, located near the top of Beacon Hill on WCC’s upper campus, 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.

Steve Stone, speaking at the event on behalf of his family, said, “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,” Stone said.

Clyde D. Stone was well-known in Wilkes County for his excellent cooking. Stone served as sergeant first class at the local National Guard Armory and spent over 20 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.

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: 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.

“I would like to take a moment to remember one special culinary participant if I may,” Phillips said. “You will remember him for his love of N.C. 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 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,” Phillips said.

Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC’s president said, “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’s dean of Business and Public Services Technologies, said, “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 and 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,” Macemore said.

“Our culinary and baking and pastry arts programs have stood out in (the N.C.) community college system for years, but this transition takes us to a new level.”

Macemore noted that WCC has 21 freshmen students enrolled for the fall semester, along with five second-year culinary arts students and six second-year baking and pastry arts students.

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

WCC culinary and pastry students prepared a selection of freshly-made breads, savory spreads and desserts for the ceremony, and tours of the facility were given.

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