Relationships key to Orefice's recipe for success
Posted March 19, 2004; 09:57 a.m.
On his second day of work as Princeton's dining services director in November 1992, Stu Orefice had breakfast with legendary Tigers basketball coach Pete Carril, who challenged him to improve the food service at the University.
That season, the University of Pennsylvania ended Princeton's string of four straight Ivy League titles and began a three-year streak of its own. Orefice was confronted again by Carril two years after their introductory breakfast. "Pete said, 'Stu, the food is so much better than when you first came here -- but now I'm losing,'" Orefice recalled. "I started feeling paranoid that I was a bad luck charm. Thank God we won in '95."
Hiring Orefice has proven, in fact, to be very good fortune for Princeton. Under his direction, the University's Department of Dining Services has blossomed into a national award-winning operation that has expanded and modernized its offerings to Princeton's students, faculty and staff.
Along the way, Orefice has become a recognizable figure on campus, thanks to his friendly demeanor, his daily visits to various dining facilities and his prime courtside seat as scorekeeper during Princeton's home basketball games -- a side pursuit that the former junior high school basketball coach also enjoyed at his previous employer, Cornell University.
"Stu has great relationships across the board. He has an awesome rapport with students and a great rapport with the staff -- that's where he really excels," said executive chef Rob Harbison, who oversees the chefs in the residential colleges, the Frist Campus Center and the University's catering operation. "When he came to Princeton it was a very traditional food service operation. He had a master plan to bring some passion into it."
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Contact: Eric Quinones (609) 258-3601