9/25/17 | Since 2003, Johnson & Wales University has partnered with Chef Emeril J. Lagasse '78, '90 Hon., to raise money for student culinary scholarships. Since then, the annual Emeril Golf Classic has become a signature university event that benefits the Emeril Lagasse Endowed Scholarship Fund.
For the tournament’s 15th anniversary, 13 College of Culinary Arts students — chosen from the university’s 4 campuses in Providence, RI; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, NC — were awarded scholarships.
Of the 13, Truman Parsons ’19 received a New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) scholarship. JWU has been a longtime supporter of NOCCA, which is a unique 4-year high school culinary arts program for aspiring chefs. NOCCA’s Culinary Arts program was developed in collaboration with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and is supported by JWU’s College of Culinary Arts, which created the first-of-its-kind curriculum for high school students.
Throughout my JWU journey, I have learned that dreaming big is possible.”
The complete list of 2017 scholarship recipients:
- Samantha DeLisle '18, Baking & Pastry Arts
- Ling Gong '18, Culinary Nutrition
- Marissa Mitchell '18, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
- Eva Alicea Centeno '19, Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
- Jennifer Piedra '19, Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
- Jonathan Rafael '17, Culinary Arts
- Hannah Dinsmore '18, Culinary Nutrition
- John Prokop '18, Culinary Nutrition
- Maria Rivera '18, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
- Talour Ford '18, Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
- Truman Parsons '19, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
- Bryanna Ramsey '18, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
- Sylvia Troyer '17, Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
Nine of the honorees were able to travel to the tournament to meet Emeril and receive their scholarships. Here is what they had to say about what the scholarship means to them:
- Samantha DeLisle: This scholarship means more to me than anyone will ever know, so I’ll try to explain it. It has shown me that my hands and mind are capable of anything I could ever imagine doing or creating. It has given me the opportunity to really push myself beyond my own limits — and given me the confidence and credit I normally struggle with to give to myself. Being able to meet people who are able to give me that chance to prove to myself and the world is something a scholarship cannot summarize.
- Hannah Dinsmore: This scholarship has made it possible for me to finish my education at JWU — and, in turn, is helping fulfill my goal of becoming a chef.
- Talour Ford: This scholarship means a lot to me — without it, I doubt I would have been able to finish my senior year of school. Attending JWU and completing my degree is one of my biggest accomplishments.
- Ling Gong: It is a great honor to be here and to receive the 2017 scholarship. It is hugely encouraging to my culinary career. I will make JWU proud.
- Marissa Mitchell: I am thankful to be able to finish my time at JWU with this scholarship. I work doubles on the weekend, and to be able to succeed and be recognized for that hard work is an honor.
- John Prokop: Getting this scholarship has afforded me the opportunity to start pursuing my master’s degree at JWU — I am truly blessed for that.
- Jonathan Rafael: This scholarship means an opportunity to meet others who can share their experiences and points of view. This experience is once-in-a-lifetime, and I am honored to have been chosen.
- Bryanna Ramsey: Receiving this scholarship has instilled in me that determination, academic excellence and willingness to learn are valued. It has also reassured me that I can — and will — open up my own café.
- Maria Rivera: Throughout my journey at JWU, I have constantly learned that dreaming big is possible — and this time is no different. In addition to lifting a financial burden from my shoulders, I am now even more empowered and inspired to continue pursuing my career to the fullest capacity. Not only will I be able to the path has also been paved to graduating with an MBA the following year, which is more than I could have ever dreamed of!
This year marks the final tournament associated with the endowed scholarship fund. However, the fund will remain and continue to award scholarships.
Since the first tournament, which attracted golfers from the most prestigious food service and hospitality companies in the country, the event has grown under the leadership of Chef Lagasse, Tournament Chairman Stephen J. Caldeira ’07 Hon., and JWU Chancellor John J. Bowen ’77. The scholarship fund now stands at more than $2.2 million, with close to $700,000 distributed in scholarships since 2003.
GROUP SCHOLAR PHOTO | BACK ROW, L-R: PRESIDENT MIM L. RUNEY, CHANCELLOR JOHN J. BOWEN '77, JOHN PROKOP, BRYANNA RAMSEY, JONATHAN RAFAEL, LING GONG, SAMANTHA DELISLE. FRONT ROW, L-R: TALOUR FORD, MARISSA MITCHELL, HANNAH DINSMORE, MARIA RIVERA, CHEF EMERIL LAGASSE '78, '90 HON., TOURNAMENT CHAIR STEVEN CALDEIRA '07 HON., AND FIRST LADY KATHLEEN HARNEY. PHOTOS: MIKE COHEA