Highlands College Expands the Character Formation Pillar with Premiere Student Dining

Highlands College is excited to announce the grand opening of The View. As an immersive student dining experience, The View provides students with more than a meal.

Our Chancellor, Pastor Chris Hodges, recently shared with our students that most of his ministry relationships and professional partnerships were built over intentional meals throughout his life. In that spirit, The View is a living laboratory for students to be practically trained and equipped in life skills, interpersonal communication, and proper table and dining etiquette. Our heart is for every student to graduate from Highlands College more confident in these skillsets to be the most effective wherever God takes them.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, this vision transformed the 5,289 square feet of the main campus building into a fine dining experience included in every student’s meal plan. Here is what our students had to say about their first meal at The View:

Today, I learned the correct process for how eat a multi-course meal in a fine dining environment! My favorite part of the meal was getting to see my peers and leaders operate in such a professional atmosphere! The food was amazing, and the overall experience very enjoyable!”

– Blaine Henderson, Student Ministry Major

“I had a wonderful experience at the View. It was a new environment for me that taught me how to eat and meet professionally in a nice restaurant. My favorite part was being able to learn alongside my friends. My dining experience was helpful in how to carry a conversation in a professional setting while enjoying a meal together. This is something I had never experienced before my experience at the View. The food was delicious, and I am so excited to have The View as a hands-on lab while at Highlands College.”

– Tori Appleton, Pastoral Ministry Major

Meet Our Chef

The View is thoughtfully curated and led by Birmingham native Chef James Lewis. He is the chef and owner of Bettola. Before opening his restaurant, he trained at prominent restaurants in California and focusing his attention throughout Italy—learning the heart and craft of true Italian cooking. In addition to being named “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine magazine, he is also a two-time James Beard semi-finalist. He is passionate about providing exceptional dining experiences and genuine hospitality to his diners and using local, farm-fresh ingredients in every dish.

Chef Lewis shared, “I’m so grateful to be a part of Highlands College’s The View. Their students will get more than a delicious meal and a memorable experience. They will leave each meal with valuable life skills—etiquette, navigating conversations, and how to prepare for a white-tablecloth dinner. Those are wins for young leaders.”

From Our President

Highlands College President Mark Pettus shared, “Our student body is growing, and providing more on-campus dining options is essential. Our team wanted to use this opportunity to create another intentional avenue for our students’ training experience and to prepare them for life after college.”

Dining at The View is a part of the Character Formation Pillar, one of the Four Pillars of Highlands College’s comprehensive academic model. Through coaching and teaching from trained staff, students will build confidence in interpersonal communication, etiquette, and their ability to connect with ministry, business, and community leaders.

President Pettus elaborated on the training experience, “Everyone from the dining staff to our faculty will coach our students on very practical life skills. Everything from the correct table utensils to making and keeping a reservation so that when they enjoy more formal dinners, they’ll have the confidence to really connect and focus on the relationships they’re building.”

We are excited to witness how our students will grow in competence and character through this new educational experience and to see how they use all their skills to make an eternal impact long after graduation.

The Highlands College Campus

The student dining facility is the latest addition to the 74-acre campus. Highlands College’s campus features space to educate 1,000 full-time students with 19 learning studios, eight hands-on ministry training studios, multiple dining and recreation facilities, a fitness facility, and a 1,400-seat auditorium home to the Grandview Campus of Church of the Highlands.

About Highlands College

Founded in 2011, Highlands College is a first-of-its-kind private Biblical higher education institution that exists to develop ministry leaders of competence, character, and spiritual maturity holistically trained to expand the Kingdom of God. Students earn an accredited bachelor’s degree from one of seven ministry concentrations and hundreds of hours of real-world training. They are immersed in an innovative education model and intentional experiences designed to build meaningful relationships and spiritual disciplines. With connections to over 15,000 churches and ministries across the globe, students are connected to a community of experts dedicated to equipping them to make an eternal impact. Highlands College graduates lead ministries in 33 states, the District of Columbia, 1 U.S. territory, and 18 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit www.highlandscollege.edu.