When the 1980 Winter Olympics came to Lake Placid, Paul Smith’s College canceled classes for the entire 11-day period and put its students to work. Glenn Plantone ’81 was one of those students.

He worked directly under two different chefs, preparing three meals a day for the entire Olympic security staff. “It was great practical experience,” Plantone says. “Before that, I had worked at McDonald’s for a couple years during high school, but this was something else altogether. It was a fantastic opportunity, much like the rest of my experience at Paul Smith’s College. We used to have bonfires between dorms 9 and 10. It was like a small community. We were so isolated from the rest of the world. I only went home to Brockport (outside of Rochester, N.Y.) three times a year.”

Plantone graduated from Paul Smith’s with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He worked for several different hotels and served as general manager of Bennigan’s Restaurant before opening his own real estate company, VIP Realty Group.

Now, Plantone is opening his own chain of restaurants called Plantone’s Italian Market, which offers hand tossed pizza, subs, salads and hot Italian pasta dishes. And he wants Paul Smith’s students and graduates to intern and work for him. “I know alumni will be prepared to do the job,” Plantone says. “And I want to help current students gain the same kind of practical experience that I had.”

He’s also helping current students by donating to Paul Smith’s College.

“I started out giving $100 a year and then $250 the next,” Plantone says. “I eventually increased my gifts to $1,000 and then to $5,000 for the last couple of years. It will take me a few more years to get to the level of some of the college’s major donors, but I will continue to give a certain level of profits back to the school. I want to help in any way I can.”