After serving as executive director of Dining Services for 21 years, Stu Orefice left his position at the University last Monday to pursue a consulting job in New York City.
“It was time for me to create a new recipe,” Orefice wrote in an announcement sent to his friends and colleagues, adding, “I am extremely proud [of] the work of our award-winning dining team, and I take comfort in the fact that I leave the Princeton pantry fully stocked with high quality ingredients.”
In his message to coworkers, Orefice explained that he hopes his job transition will allow him more flexibility to spend more time with his family. Beyond providing The Daily Princetonian with the message, Orefice declined to comment.
In the interim, Vice President for University Services Chad Klaus will serve as acting executive director of Dining Services in addition to his usual responsibilities. According to Klaus, the search for Orefice’s replacement is expected to begin in early 2014 and will last for approximately three to four months.
Klaus explained that he expects the University to look for candidates across the country, although internal staff will not be excluded from consideration. Other details regarding the process have yet to be finalized.
“I have not given a ton of thought yet in terms of the exact attributes that we will try to target,” Klaus said. “I’m going to give myself a little more time to figure out the sort of leader we’re looking for.”
Orefice began working at the University in 1993 after having served as assistant director of Cornell Dining for a decade. During his time at Princeton, Orefice oversaw several major changes in dining, such as the beginning of retail operations at Frist Campus Center in 2001. Orefice also focused his efforts on revamping the residential college dining halls in response to the increased size of the student body. He was involved in both the construction of Whitman’s servery, which opened in 2007, and the consolidation of Wilcox and Wu dining halls, which was completed in 2009.
Sustainability also became a central focus of Orefice’s reforms. The former director supervised the planning of Cafe Vivian, which serves primarily organic dishes and products, as well as initiatives to supply local soup kitchens with surplus food and to distribute food waste to area farmers. That the University dining halls no longer use trays can also be credited to Orefice.
In recent years, Orefice has played a role in attempting to resolve a variety of dining-related controversies that have emerged on campus, including a report of 1,200 coffee mug thefts from the Wu-Wilcox dining hall, a USG referendum to remove Sabra hummus from campus retail locations and a sharp increase in sushi prices in the Frist Food Gallery.
While Orefice noted in his announcement to colleagues that he will “miss the Orange Bubble,” he also said that he is satisfied with the changes he has seen in Dining Services over the course of his career at the University.
“I leave with mixed emotions, but nothing will diminish my pride in the many good and productive changes that have marked my service to the Princeton tradition,” he wrote in his message. “When I think of the transformation from traditional cafeterias in 1993 to the marketplace facilities of today, I am assured that the work was worthy of the ideals of Princeton University.”
“Stu was a very amazing leader at Princeton,” Klaus said. “He really reformulated all of what we think of in terms of campus dining at Princeton.”