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Released September 19, 2005


HATTIESBURG – When the Charcoal Room opened for business this week on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi, it was under new management.

Picayune native Thomas Smith, manager, will oversee day-to-day operations that include food preparation, facilities, inventories and staff for the student-run restaurant. Dr. Johye Hwang, assistant professor of tourism management, teaches two laboratory classes which provide staff for the restaurant, and she oversees the front-of-house operations.

The Charcoal Room resumed its fall operating schedule on Sept. 20. The restaurant is open to the public from 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. each Tuesday-Thursday. For details, call (601) 266-5562.

Smith is no stranger to the Charcoal Room as he worked there for three semesters as a student before receiving his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management in May. For the past year Smith has served as the sous-chef at Hattiesburg’s Lake Terrace Convention Center. He previously worked in a variety of roles, including manager at Cucos Mexican Café in Hattiesburg. A graduate of Pearl River Community College, Smith also worked as assistant P.G.A. golf professional at the Pinewood Country Club in Slidell, La.

Hwang, a native of Korea, holds a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University’s School of Hospitality Management. She also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Seoul National University in Korea.

She has experience in hospitality operations management as well as food production and service management. In addition to her previous experience as an instructor and research assistant at Penn State, Hwang also has industry experience as a dietitian for Samsung Medical Center and assistant manager of Café Demitasse in Seoul, Korea.

The Charcoal Room operates under the auspices of the College of Business and is an academic laboratory where Restaurant Management and Nutrition and Dietetics students get hands-on food service experience. It is located on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus behind Vann Hall just off Fourth Street.


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October 14, 2005 10:17 AM