Rollins Wins Loyal E. Horton Dining Award

August 02, 2021

By Elsa Wenzel

Students enjoy a meal in Skillman Dining Hall
Photo by Scott Cook.

The recognition for excellence in dining facilities in higher education exemplifies the College’s continued commitment to serving up delicious, inclusive, and nourishing food.

Rollins College has won the silver medal from the Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards from the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS), one of the highest dining honors among universities and colleges. Rollins’ recognition in the category for “all-you-care-to-eat” residential dining recognizes its $2.4 million top-to-bottom renovation of Skillman Dining Hall in fall 2019.

The state-of-the-art dining hall overlooking Lake Virginia added 100 seats, increased layout efficiency, and expanded its menu offers to include even more vegetarian, vegan, and allergen-free options. Other stations in Skillman include a full-service deli, an international station serving up comfort food from around the world, and a pasta and pizza station built around a wood-fired pizza oven that can bake a custom-ordered pie in just under 60 seconds.

Photos by Scott Cook.

“Certainly the redesign of Skillman is an amazing project that really pushed us forward, as is the new Lakeside Neighborhood,” says Bill Short, Rollins’ associate vice president of finance and assistant treasurer, who oversees dining operations. “These two upgrades to our facilities are going to push forward our meal offerings and our abilities to expand.”

This isn’t the first time Rollins has been recognized for its outstanding fare and commitment to health and wellness. College Consensus and The Daily Meal identified the College as having some of the best dining in the country, and Peta2 consistently bestows an A+ rating on Rollins for its focus on vegan-friendly options. Criteria for the Loyal E. Horton Dining Award take into consideration everything from dining trends and locally sourced offerings to food safety and nutritional content.

Students Tex Mex fare from Rollins’ fast-casual Mexican cafe.
Photo by Curtis Shaffer ’22.

“We have an awesome culinary team that works hard to bring creativity together,” says Short, noting that Rollins has snagged restaurant talent from the Ritz-Carlton and Waldorf Astoria hotels in Orlando. “Access to fresh, nourishing meals has a major effect on everything from student satisfaction to retention. It’s such an important part of our mission.”

Photos by Scott Cook.

As Rollins Dining Services gears up to serve the record number of 1,600 students living on campus this fall, outdoor seating spaces have been spruced up and expanded, including the Edgar A. Swindle Lakeside Patio and the Lakeside Cafe. Students will be able to order food to enjoy poolside or get fresh wraps, made-to-order smoothies, and custom coffee creations to-go. Kosher and Halal options are also coming to Skillman and Dave’s Boathouse, our on-campus, pub-style restaurant.

The Loyal E. Horton Dining Award, celebrating “exemplary menus, presentations, special event planning, and new dining concepts,” is named for the founder of the NACUFS. The organization’s national conference and a special luncheon will celebrate the winners of the awards, which will also appear in the magazine, Campus Dining Today.

Professor and students in a class discussion at a Rollins outdoor classroom

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