Industry NewsManagementThe Atherton Hotel at Oklahoma State University Under New Management

The Atherton Hotel at Oklahoma State University Under New Management

STILLWATER, Okla.—Oklahoma State University’s campus hotel and Ranchers Club restaurant are under new management. The university and its School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration (HRAD) entered into a partnership agreement in June 2012 with Persimmon Ridge Properties, which is owned by distinguished OSU alumni and supporters Gentner Drummond and Tom Atherton. Now the transition is complete and Persimmon Ridge has full day-to-day management responsibilities for the boutique hotel, as well as for The Ranchers Club restaurant.

“This partnership between the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, the Atherton Hotel and Persimmon Ridge will enhance the learning opportunities for our students,” said Stephan M. Wilson, regents professor and dean of the OSU College of Human Sciences. “OSU is committed to maintaining the Atherton Hotel and Ranchers Club as a teaching laboratory and we are pleased students will actively participate with a successful hospitality management company.”

The full-service hotel, attached to the university’s Student Union building, originally opened in 1950. It earned membership in the esteemed Historic Hotels of America program in 2004.

Drummond said that Jim Barnard, chief executive officer of Persimmon Ridge’s POSTOAK Lodge & Resort, is now also responsible for overseeing the hotel and restaurant and providing a “real world” lodging and dining laboratory for HRAD students. Barnard, an OSU graduate, has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the hospitality and restaurant industry with both major and independently owned resort properties.

From 1999 to 2007, Barnard was part of OSU’s Hotel and Restaurant Administration program. While there, he served as The Atherton’s general manager, director of development and construction project manager.

Tom Atherton also announced that Josh Barnard is The Atherton’s general manager and director of hotel operations.

“Josh earned his Master of Science degree from OSU in Hospitality Administration. In addition to working five years in the hotel business, Josh brings to The Atherton eight years of progressive financial and management experience earned while with Stillwater’s Liberty Federal Savings Bank,” he said.

The Ranchers Club returned to full operation on January 15 after six months of renovations. The restaurant seats 80 and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Ben Coffin, a graduate of OSU and London’s Le Cordon Bleu, returns as executive chef. Naveen Kodadhala has been named general manager – food & beverage services for The Ranchers Club and also The Atherton Hotel. Kodadhala earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from OSU.