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The Evolution of UNC Dining Services

Dining Services is a large department comprised of many different locations spread out all over campus.

We have a vast history here at UNC, and we wanted to share a little of it with you!

  • Arnie's

    The legacy of Arnie’s Snack Shop began in the fall of 1985, when the first pizza was sold in McCowen Hall under the direction of Charles Wilson and Arnold Waddel. In fact, the name Arnie’s came from its first manager, Arnold Waddel.

    In 1986, a new student management team took over Arnie’s. From that point on, Arnie’s ingredients and recipes were standardized to develop our campus-wide popular menu. Arnie’s signature menu items include calzones, pizzas, and bread sticks. Also in 1986, Arnie’s not only delivered to West Campus but to Central Campus, as well.

    In 1987, Arnie’s began the charge system for McCowen residents only. By Fall of 1988, Arnie’s expanded its charge system to all students living on campus. Spring Semester 1993, Arnie’s opened a new location on Central Campus for delivery only.

    By 1996, Arnie’s established itself as an in-house pizza brand and was introduced at the University Center food court. The delivery and charge programs were dropped in the same year in favor of promoting Arnie’s new location at the University Center.

    Arnie’s is a progressive establishment with a strong student team behind it. Since 1986, Arnie’s has been “run by students for students.” Its mission is to create a dynamic atmosphere focusing on student programming and quality food for the University of Northern Colorado students and staff.

  • McCowen

    McCowen Residence Hall and dining room was built in 1963. The residence halls were set up to include one floor for women and one floor for men. The grounds on which it is built was used by students for all kinds of activities such as volleyball, football, softball, sun tanning, etc.

    McCowen was the first residence hall on West Campus. Back in the 60’s, everyone came into the dining room at one time and was served family style. The meal consisted of one serving of protein, one starch, two vegetables, a salad, beverage, and dessert. McCowen Dining Room was the first dining unit on campus that started serving lines in lieu of the sit down, family style dinner. It continues today as a Gourmet-to-Go station and was used exclusively as the dining unit for summer conferences such as the Denver Broncos Summer Training Camp.
    Harrison Residence Hall was built on an alfalfa field in 1966 by the architect R.F. Lindstedt and his associates. It is named after M. Lucille Harrison, who was the Professor Emeritus of Elementary Education at UNC from 1926-1963. While the estimated original cost of Harrison Hall was $2,485,000, it would cost approximately $8 million to replace just the dining room (as of 2001). Harrison Hall consists of five floors of residence rooms, a dining room, two student lounges, a basement with laundry facilities and study areas, and a front desk that supplies anything from change to sports equipment. When Harrison Hall was first built, the south wing was all girls and the north wing all boys, and this was considered co-ed. Now, the men and women are mixed throughout the wings. A suite consists of four residents: two double rooms conjoined by one bathroom.

  • Tobey-Kendel

    Tobey-Kendel Hall was constructed in 1936 at a cost of $102,224. The original floor area was 19,260 square feet.

    Originally built in the Dutch Colonial style of the other women’s campus buildings, Tobey-Kendel was named for Miss Elizabeth H. Kendel and Miss Frances Tobey. Miss Kendel was a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics from 1893-1938 and Miss Tobey was a Professor Emeritus of English and Drama from 1906-1937.

    Two dining rooms were located on the second floor level along with the serving kitchens and a dishwashing room. On the first level were the dormitory rooms, 2 small lounges, and the foyer to the dining area. Food preparation rooms, storage spaces, main stoves, ovens, and refrigeration units were on the ground floor.

    At this time, Central Campus was all female. Tobey-Kendel was an all-female dining room. Male guests were not even allowed to eat there. The women always dressed formally for dinner, as they did for classes, and they never came to dinner late. Dinners were served family style; everyone sat down for the meals, and student workers and cooks served each table. Lunch was cafeteria style, but there still was no self-serve. Also at this time, the dining room offered no selections – everyone ate the same thing. On Sundays, only breakfast and a noon dinner were served. Everyone went out for supper on Sundays.

    The addition to the original hall was built in 1957, under the same construction contract as Wilson and Wiebking Halls. The cost of the addition alone was $773,215, more than seven times the cost of the original building.

    What used to be the dining rooms and kitchens upstairs were converted to a conference room, called the Blue Room, and a fitness center operated by the HELM Program in the early 1990’s. Free aerobics classes for UNC students were offered throughout the week.

    Tobey-Kendel Hall underwent a renovation in the late 1990’s and opened its doors to students in the fall of 2000. The new dining room, at a cost of approximately $6 million, provided a variety of menu selections in a display cookery style of service. All of the previous residential rooms at Tobey-Kendel were replaced by the administrative offices of Dining Services, Residence Life, Housing, and Purchasing Food Services.

  • Holmes

    The Holmes Dining Hall construction project officially broke ground at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 25, 2004. President Kay Norton and members of the UNC Senior Administration were on hand to participate in the event.

    • Architects: Bennett Wagner & Grody
    • Contractors: FCI Construction
    • Seating: 550 patrons
    • Location: south of Turner and Lawrenson Halls
    • Cost of Project: 9.5 million dollars
    • Estimated Completion Date: December 2004

Dining Services at the University of Northern Colorado is a member of NACUFS, the National Association of College and University Food Services, Continental Region.


"The National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) is the trade association for food service professionals at over 650 institutions of higher education in the United States, Canada and abroad. Founded in 1958, NACUFS provides members with a full-range of educational programs, publications, management services, and networking opportunities. In addition to colleges and universities, over 425 industry suppliers are members of the association. These companies exhibit at national and regional showcases, serve on standing committees and participate in various educational conferences. NACUFS is governed by a board of directors and six regional councils and uses volunteer committees, project teams and professional staff to deliver service to its members." (source:  www.nacufs.org)

UNC Dining Services has several staff members who have been actively involved in NACUFS, now and in the past.

  • Hal Brown, our Director, served as President for 2 years, and most recently as Past-President.
  • Chef Aran Essig received the 2003 Region VIII President's Award for his contributions to the 2003 Region VIII Culinary Challenge at the Regional Conference held in Calgary. This is UNC Dining Service's 2nd President's Award in a row. 
  • Dining Services received the 2002 Region VIII President's Award for our Conference Committee/Staff's contribution to making the 2002 Regional Conference the best yet.
  • At the 2003 Regional Conference, UNC's very own TK Cook, Michele Rogers won FIRST PLACE and an American Culinary Federation Gold Medal for her dish.  That gave Michele the right to go to the National NACUFS Conference in Kansas City this past month.  Michele did a great job representing Region VIII and UNC by winning 3rd place, along with a Bronze ACF medal.