The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Real Food on Campus gets grand opening

Students were greeted with sparkling apple cider on silver trays, chocolate fountains and smooth jazz as they walked into the entrance of RFoc’s grand opening. The celebration was in honor of Umphrey Lee’s first renovation in 20 years.

The dining facility was gutted and is no longer segmented. It is now one open room centered on the curve displaying all the menu items.

Sophmore Jamil Beard enjoyed the jazz band that played during the opening. He said the new facility is a step up from last year’s.

“There’s so much more light, it seems like you’re more happy [here],” he said.

The renovation plan began in fall of 2003 when Aramark, a specialized food company, ran a Market Match research project. Sketches for the new facility were drawn in April 2004. General Contractors revamped the facility in 12 weeks even while Umphrey Lee was serving food to students during the summer sessions.

Executive Director of Auxiliary Services Julie Wiksten said the final result didn’t differ much from the original sketch. Wiksten was in charge of overseeing the facility’s budget, contracts and design. She said the plan was to bring a more inviting environment with warmer tones. She is excited about the results.

“To see the reaction from students, faculty and staff – that is the most rewarding part,” she said.

Tim Schaub, the executive chef, was also pleased with the final product.

“I spent 10 years in Las Vegas. This would rival anything [there]. This is absolutely beautiful,” he said.

The renovations were a group effort. Along with Aramark and General contractors, SMU sought the advice of its Dining Advisory Board. The board is made up of students, faculty and staff who offer their feedback as well as feedback they have received from others on campus.However, not all of the students were impressed. Sophomore Robin Austin said she wished more of the money that was put into the facility had gone towards food quality.

“I think we need less decorations and better food,” she said.

But Schaub is one step ahead. He said the board is already planning to upgrade meals. According to the plan, students would be able to swipe with their regular meal plan but would have the option to pay an extra fee for a high scale meal such as steak or lobster.

“We are trying to create more of a restaurant atmosphere,” he said.

District Manager David Randolph said he thinks they’ve increased the wow factor. “A prestigious school needs prestigious dining,” he said.

Like Schaub, Randolph is already looking into future plans for Umphrey Lee.

“We’re just starting,” he said.

The grand opening included statements from Randolph, Wikston and Dining Advisory Board Member Samantha Colletti. Staff and board also initiated the opening with a ribbon cutting.

More to Discover