Classic ‘speakeasy’ is setting for 30th anniversary RITz dinner

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Thirty years of plates commemorate each RITz Dinner. Guests receive the event memento at the dinner. Those who cannot attend can still purchase plates, with all proceeds going to the Hospitality Education Fund. A display case of all the RITz plates is located on the fourth floor of the Eastman Building, just outside of Henry’s restaurant. Photo by Sarah Willistein '15 (graphic design)

This year’s guests at the annual RITz Black Tie Dinner will be treated to a delicious meal in the setting of a 1930s prohibition-era speakeasy for “The 30 Club at the RITz.”

The annual fundraiser, taking place on Saturday, April 18, at Ridgemont Country Club, is hosted by the School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation, part of RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology, and all proceeds go toward the school’s Hospitality Education Fund.

Students manage the entire event, from entertainment and decor to creating a multi-course menu, operating the kitchen and serving the more than 200 guests who attend the event each year. Leading the planning team are Danielle Sanderson and Adam Pirro, both fourth-year hospitality and tourism management students.

“We all wanted to do something classy and gorgeous to represent the 30-year anniversary. I’m excited to make this year’s dinner amazing and set it apart from the rest,” said Sanderson.

This year’s honorary hosts are RIT community members and husband-and-wife, Christine Licata, senior associate provost, and Barry Culhane, executive assistant to the president. The couple are both long-time supporters of the event. An additional RIT connection includes alumnus James Cucinelli ’68 (business administration), owner of the Ridgemont Country Club, who opened the 1840s mansion and banquet hall to the students.

Tickets are $125 per person, and reservations can be made online at