STILLWATER, Okla.--()--Oklahoma State University’s historic 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.
“The hotel has a legacy of distinction that is important to my family, as well as other OSU graduates”
“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.”
Drummond said, “We are honored to be associated with such an iconic part of OSU’s campus life. The Atherton is renowned for its gracious hospitality, and The Ranchers Club provides the campus and all of Stillwater memorable culinary experiences.”
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.
Atherton’s father, W.S. Atherton, is the prominent OSU alumnus who spearheaded and was the cornerstone donor for a $6 million hotel renovation campaign in 2001.
“The hotel has a legacy of distinction that is important to my family, as well as other OSU graduates,” Tom Atherton said. “I’m proud we are following my dad’s lead and helping ensure its vitality for years to come.”
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.
“This partnership provides me an opportunity to return to The Atherton and The Ranchers Club,” Barnard said. “I’m delighted to be in Cowboy country.”
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 fine-dining 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.
The Atherton Hotel at OSU:
Located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in the heart of Oklahoma State University’s Student Union, The Atherton Hotel features 81 guest rooms. It also is a distinguished venue for meetings, weddings and special events. Reservations may be booked online via the hotel’s website, www.athertonhotelatosu.com, or by calling 405-744-6835.
The Ranchers Club:
The fine-dining restaurant specializing in steaks is located adjacent to The Atherton Hotel’s lobby. Reservations for breakfast, lunch or dinner may be made by calling 405-744-2333 (405-744-BEEF), via the website, www.theranchersclub.com, or through OpenTable, www.opentable.com.
Persimmon Ridge Properties:
In addition to managing The Atherton Hotel at OSU and The Ranchers Club, Tulsa-based Persimmon Ridge Properties manages and owns POSTOAK Lodge & Retreat and POSTOAK Canopy Tours. POSTOAK Lodge & Retreat is located 7 miles from downtown Tulsa on 1,000 acres in northeast Oklahoma’s hill country. Open 365 days a year, POSTOAK caters to groups ranging from business conferences and training sessions to wedding parties and family reunions. POSTOAK features: accommodations, dining options, POSTOAK Canopy Tours zipline adventure, diverse activities, and more than 13,000 square feet of inside meeting space and multiple outside venues.