Protocol Dinner offers a plate full of etiquette knowledge

Interim Provost Joe Scartelli introduces himself to students during the Professional Protocol Dinner on Feb. 17.

Dozens of students recently received a crash course on dining etiquette.

Etiquette expert Kathleen Harshberger conducted the annual Professional Protocol Dinner on Feb. 17 at which 180 Radford University students learned how to properly navigate an elegant four-course dinner.

Harshberger is the former director of University Advancement for the College of Visual and Performing Arts and a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington. Throughout the night, she guided participants through the "dos and don'ts" of dining and engaging with professionals. At the dinner, those professionals were table hosts consisting of Radford University faculty and administrators, including Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joe Scartelli.

"Congratulations to all of you for having the intelligence and wisdom to take advantage of this opportunity," Scartelli told students. "This is more than just learning how to behave at dinner. I have been to about eight of these [Protocol Dinners], and I have learned something new every time. I have put those skills to use hundreds of times since."

Harshberger touched on topics such as the proper way to hold a fork and knife, what to do if offered alcohol at a meal, proper dress attire and how to arrange utensils once a course is completed.

The experience, students agreed, was much different than dining with friends or family at home.

"I've learned manners before," said senior Michael Butchko. "But never at this level."

Harshberger emphasized how important first impressions and first interactions are, especially when they could make or break a potential job opportunity.

Haley Goins, a senior advertising and studio arts major, said she hopes the knowledge she gained will help with future interviews.

"I knew this would be a great professional opportunity," Goins said. "I'm learning important social skills and interacting with people I've never met before."


Kathleen Harshberger conducted the Professional Protocol Dinner. She is a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington.

Feb 29, 2016