GRCC’s Secchia Culinary Institute to receive a gift of a piazza

The late Peter Secchia is bestowing a gift inspired by his Italian roots to Grand Rapids Community College’s world-class culinary instruction program that bears his name.

A new piazza will be built to serve more guests and share the story of students’ journeys from the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education to destinations around the globe.

The Italian-themed addition pays homage to Secchia’s love of his Italian roots. The businessman and philanthropist served as the U.S. Ambassador to Italy and San Marino from 1989 to 1993.

A rendering of the Secchia Piazza that will be built on the GRCC main campus.

Secchia Piazza is the latest gift from the philanthropist and his family, whose generosity and drive for excellence helped the Secchia Institute create state-of-the-art facilities, attract top faculty members, and prepare students for rewarding careers in the hospitality industry.

“The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education has long been recognized as one of Grand Rapids’ best teaching and dining experiences, and Peter Secchia always believed our students are capable of great things,” says Dr. Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president for College Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation.

“These renovations will create a beautiful setting to tell the story of the Secchia Institute and the opportunities it creates for students.”

From patio to piazza

The Secchia Piazza will be located in GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, 151 Fountain St. NE, and will be used by GRCC students, faculty and staff, and the greater community as an event space and a place to reflect and connect to the Secchia Institute.

Designed by Progressive AE, the renovation will enclose an underused outdoor patio and add a 31-foot-wide, 15-foot-tall colorful skylight that will be one of the college’s most recognizable features. Granger Construction will oversee the project.

A rendering of the Secchia Piazza that will be built on the GRCC main campus.

A floor pattern designed by GRCC artists will evoke the educational pathway students take from the Secchia Institute to culinary opportunities across the country and around the world.

GRCC’s culinary program was renamed for Secchia and his wife, Joan, in 2007. The Pietro and Regina Amphitheater, named after Peter Secchia’s grandparents, was added in 2012. Peter’s Pub was launched in 2016 as part of GRCC’s Fountain Hill Brewery, tapping into the demand created by Grand Rapids’ growing craft beer industry.


Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.