Hyde Park, NY – Graduates of The Culinary Institute of America heard from leaders of two very different sectors of the food and hospitality world during graduation ceremonies at the college’s New York campus on July 25 and 26. Dawn Zier, former CEO of Nutrisystem and current president and chief operating officer of its parent company Tivity Health, addressed bachelor’s degree recipients on July 25. The following day, Susan Stockton, retired senior vice president of culinary production at the Food Network and Cooking Channel, inspired graduates receiving their associate degree from the CIA.
“You are entering the workforce at a time of unprecedented opportunity and social responsibility,” said Ms. Zier, who also serves on the board of Tivity Health. “Without question, the pace of innovation is increasing and many of you will be pioneers paving the way. As responsible culinarians, you will be called on to lead by example.”
Under Zier’s leadership, Nutrisystem was named one of Fortune magazine’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in both 2017 and 2018. She earned an Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2018 from Ernst & Young.
Ms. Stockton retired after a career as an executive in food television and is now a director at New York City’s Food & Finance High School, where she runs the after-school visiting chef program.
“Don’t be afraid to show people who you are,” Ms. Stockton advised graduates. “Don’t underestimate yourself. Take inventory of your talents and bring it on!”
In addition to creating the Food Network Kitchen staff of cooks, stylists, editors, researchers, and culinary producers during the cable channel’s early years, Stockton was also involved in developing Food Network Magazine, branded cookware, and several Food Network Kitchen airport restaurants.
Both commencement ceremonies can be found online, including Ms. Zier’s address to recipients of bachelor’s degrees in Food Business Management, Culinary Science, and Applied Food Studies; and Ms. Stockton’s remarks to associate degree graduates majoring in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts.
Of the 15 graduation ceremonies at the CIA’s three U.S. campuses this year, 12 have had leading women in the food, beverage, and hospitality industry deliver the keynote addresses. For the past three years, the student body at the college has had more women than men.
Photo Captions and Hi-Res Images:
Top Photo: Foodservice executive Dawn Zier addresses the baccalaureate commencement at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on July 25, 2019. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 2: Susan Stockton, retired vice president of culinary production for the Food Network and Cooking Channel, speaks to graduates receiving their associate degree diplomas at the New York campus of The Culinary Institute of America on July 26, 2019. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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About The Culinary Institute of America:
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is the world’s premier culinary college. Dedicated to developing leaders in foodservice and hospitality, the independent, not-for-profit CIA offers master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking & pastry arts, food business management, hospitality management, culinary science, and applied food studies. The college also offers executive education, certificate programs, and courses for professionals and enthusiasts. Its conferences, leadership initiatives, and consulting services have made the CIA the think tank of the food industry and its worldwide network of more than 50,000 alumni includes innovators in every area of the food world. The CIA has locations in New York, California, Texas, and Singapore.
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