Earlier today [Sept. 25], Mississippi University for Women celebrated the largest purpose-built facility for culinary education in the State of Mississippi with a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Culinary Arts Institute.


“We are proud to show off this beautiful building! I’d like to express our gratitude to the State Legislature for providing the funding for this facility, to JBHM Architects for designing it, and to West Brothers Construction for building it,” said University President Nora Miller.

Totaling over 40,000 square feet and two stories, the new facility features multiple commercial-grade kitchens equipped with convection ovens, smokers, rack ovens, griddles, fryers and pasta cookers. The first-floor prep kitchens are divided by walk-in storage spaces, a dish washing center and a dining room. Also located on the first floor is a full-sized kitchen dedicated solely to baking with a linear layout and a chocolate room. The first floor also features a tiered classroom, a demonstration kitchen with filming and streaming capability and a traditional classroom.

“As an alum and legacy of The W, I am very proud to be in this beautiful 40,000-square-foot purpose-built culinary education facility with state-of-the art classrooms. We greatly appreciate the support of The W from the community,” said Tracee Watkins, director of the Culinary Arts Institute.

The second floor features a modular active learning classroom, a culinary library, two conference rooms and offices for culinary faculty and staff. An 80-person event space and commons area can be found on the first floor for university events. Built with the culinary student in mind, the new culinary space provides better logistics for delivery of fresh foods and supplies as well as additional campus parking.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees toured the Culinary Arts Institute.

The W’s culinary program was founded in 1996 and remains the state’s only bachelor of science degree program in culinary.

About The W

Located in historic Columbus, Mississippi, The W was founded in 1884 as the first state-supported college for women in the United States. Today, the university is home to 2,227 students in more than 70 majors and concentrations and has educated men for 40 years. The university is nationally recognized for low student debt, diversity and social mobility which empowers students to BE BOLD.

Be Bold. Tower with Blue.