About the Partnership
Ithaka Hospitality Partners is proud to be the management company for all commercial aspects of the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center.
The Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center (RCSC) is the new cutting-edge, state-of-the-art home to the College of Human Sciences’ esteemed Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management at Auburn University. The Center features numerous experiential learning spaces where students obtain meaningful, hands-on learning opportunities to prepare them to be leaders in the hospitality industry.
The involvement of a world-class management partner is crucial to executing the ambitious programming and educational opportunities the Rane Center provides. The Ithaka Hospitality Partners team is heavily involved in the hands-on learning experiences in The Laurel Hotel & Spa, Alabama’s first ultra-luxury hotel, as well as the 1856 – Culinary Residence, a teaching restaurant, and its Chef in Residence program, which is the first-ever teaching restaurant with both an a la carte as well as a tasting menu format.
As the management company for RCSC, Ithaka Hospitality Partners manages the day-to-day operations of all commercial spaces including The Laurel Hotel & Spa, 1856, and the Hey Day Market food hall, as well as the on-site café, and coffee roastery. The company also currently manages The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center, a AAA four-diamond property located adjacent to RCSC.
In addition to property management, Ithaka Hospitality Partners is deeply involved in the educational components of the Tony & Libba Rane Culinary Science Center. Its leadership team serves as affiliate faculty working alongside professors and staff within the School of Hospitality Management, teaching and advising students.
The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center was the first property under Ithaka’s management, serving not only as the leading hotel in the area for nearly two decades, but also a teaching facility that gave students real-world experience in hotel management, restaurant management, event management and culinary science. As one of only three AAA Four Diamond properties in the United States dedicated to hospitality education, The Hotel at Auburn University provided students with an unparalleled education until RCSC opened. Students gained first-hand experience in the intricacies and detail that goes into the day-to-day management of a premier hotel and benefit from the property’s elite Four Diamond rating.
Most importantly, Ithaka team members serve as mentors to Auburn University Hospitality Management Program students, instilling in them a love of the industry and a willingness to serve.
Auburn-based Ithaka Hospitality Partners was founded in 2018 by Hans van der Reijden, an international hotelier with more than 35 years of experience in the industry. Formerly a partner in the Capella Hotel Group, he worked side by side with founder Horst Schulze, a legend in the hospitality industry. Collectively, the Ithaka Hospitality Partners management team has more than 200 years of industry experience at some of the biggest and most respected hospitality organizations across the globe.
Within the Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management, key members of the Ithaka team serve as affiliate faculty, working closely with academic program faculty to provide students a robust, engaging, practical education that will serve them for life, whatever path their career may take. In addition, both teams work to:
- Educate students in the classroom by ensuring that students are exposed to the right balance of theoretical and applied knowledge
- Welcome students to The Laurel Hotel & Spa, as well as 1856 – Culinary Residence, by using the property as a premier practicum space for hands-on learning experiences
- Provide job shadowing opportunities for students with key members of both RCSC as well as The Hotel at Auburn University leadership team
- Support the program fundraising efforts, including the annual Hospitality Gala, the largest single-night fundraiser in the area
- Facilitate professional placement of graduates in the hospitality industry worldwide
- Offer a unique range of differential study opportunities as a result of our existing industry partnerships, such as the Guild of Master Sommeliers and the Society of Wine Educators
- Open doors for students and faculty to travel the U.S. and worldwide to experience the California Wine Country, Oregon Wine Country and Chilean and Argentinean Wine Country