Sept. 21, 2005
HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, announced a major boost for its new downtown restaurant with a $1 million donation from Benjamin Olewine III. Olewine, chairman emeritus of SYSCO Food Services of Central Pennsylvania, has long supported the culinary arts program at HACC and has endowed the program which bears his name.

Olewine, the third of four generations of the family in the food service business, said he decided to support the project so that "the HACC Olewine Culinary School students would have the opportunity to experience real on-the-job training in a restaurant setting. That kind of experience is important if we're going to give them the best possible preparation for their careers."

With the addition of the new restaurant - named Bricco -- the college will be able to expand the culinary arts program and more readily integrate the baking and pastry program. The restaurant will be operated in partnership with Harristown Development Corporation and the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers.

The full service restaurant will have a Mediterranean look and feel, complete with a brick oven, a bakery and a meat and cheese shop which will also provide services to the Harrisburg Hilton. The dining area is designed to include a chef's station for special food preparation demonstrations.

"We are absolutely delighted at the decision of Mr. Olewine and his family to provide this level of support for our new teaching restaurant," said Dr. Edna Baehre, president of HACC. "His generosity will allow us to concentrate on making this the best possible teaching restaurant in the mid-Atlantic region and one of the jewels of the downtown restaurant revival in Harrisburg."

The new restaurant - which is already under construction - will occupy the first floor of the International House at 31 S. Third Street in Harrisburg. It is set for a formal opening in January.

"Our graduates are already among the most sought-after in the region," said Baehre, "but the addition of this experience during the second year of their training will elevate them to the highest possible level."

Ben Olewine III and his family have a long history of support for HACC. In addition to this most recent donation and the program endowment, his donations have also been key to the Olewine Culinary Scholarship Endowment, the Olewine Culinary Arts Endowment, the Cooper Leadership Fund and the Bruce E. Cooper Paralegal Study and Research program.

And his generosity hasn't stopped at HACC. He is also a major support of many other local charitable organizations including the Homeland Center - an assisted living and skilled nursing center in Harrisburg. In fact, the two organizations have joined hands to honor Ben Olewine in a special tribute dinner at the Harrisburg Hilton on Sept. 25.

"We are very grateful to Ben for his ongoing support of the college," said Baehre, "and we look forward to always having a special table waiting for him at Bricco."

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