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Panda Restaurant backs Culinary Business Learning Lab

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The Panda Charitable Foundation’s mission to educate and create the next generation of leaders is certainly in harmony with the goal of The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State to recreate a state-of-the-art learning lab, and it took only one dedicated alumnus to help orchestrate a new partnership.

The School recently announced a $200,000 gift from The Panda Charitable Foundation, secured in part by Chief Financial Officer John Theuer (BA, MBA ’83, Business) to support the groundbreaking Culinary Business Learning Lab (CBLL) revitalization project slated to begin construction in November.

The Panda Charitable Foundation was established by Panda Restaurant Group, Inc., whose flagship concept, Panda Express, is the largest Asian quick-service restaurant in the U.S. The CBLL, located on the garden level of the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center on MSU’s campus, will showcase the latest in culinary equipment, sustainable building materials, and optimal design concepts for use in food production management courses, special events, and executive development programs for industry professionals.

Panda has long been an active partner at Michigan State.“This donation speaks volumes about the leadership of Panda Restaurant Group, Inc. and the Panda Charitable Foundation,” said Director and Professor of The School Ron Cichy. “They believe that the future leaders of the hospitality and restaurant industries are the students we teach today. This is an investment in their futures.”

Theuer, who serves as a member of the CBLL project leadership team and as a member of The School’s Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors, has a strong personal commitment to the CBLL project, noting that it is important to him that The School, though already among the best in the nation, continues to be a leader. “As board members, we all understand that it starts with us,” he said.

For more information about the Culinary Business Learning Lab or about making a gift to The School of Hospitality Business, contact Shelley MacMillan at (517) 884-1586 or at