The V.I. Hotel and Tourism Association honored one of its partners Friday morning, while hearing about an exciting new initiative from another.
University of the Virgin Islands president David Hall told the annual membership meeting about UVI’s new Hotel and Hospitality four-year degree program, to commence in fall 2011, while the V.I. Police Department presented its officers of the month.
Introducing Hall, hotelier Richard Doumeng, HTA association board chair and longtime tourism leader, said, "Dr. Hall has reached out in a way I thought I would never see. It’s unprecedented. He called an informal session with hotel members a year ago to discuss partnering with UVI on a Hotel and Hospitality degree program at UVI. He set a timeline for the process, and he stuck to it."
Hall, who took the reins as president of UVI last year, spoke of plans for new buildings on both St. Thomas and St. Croix campuses, so students will have the "same quality of education" as their counterparts in the states, and "will never feel less than."
He introduced newly hired UVI business school dean Charles Williams, who will be working alongside Hall and hotel representatives in structuring the program.
"The hotel program fits into the broader vision to move to the next level of greatness, which ensures that all students are successful," Hall said. "Our partnership with the hotel association allows us to identify people outside the university to develop a cutting edge program comparable with the best across the nation."
He said the departments of Education and Tourism funded the exploratory process. And Hall went for top level advice. "We brought in consultants from (hospitality-focused university) Johnson and Wales to help craft and fashion the curriculum, " Hall said, "as well as local hotel experts."
He said the program "will elevate the industry with a wealth of professional knowledge and experience. We will have made a difference in the economic life of the community."
The crowded room at the Windward Passage hotel heartily agreed, with several rounds of applause greeting his remarks.
Hall said along with the four-year degree program, UVI will also offer certificates or a two year associate’s degree two-year.
Hall said the program still has a couple of hurdles before it meets for UVI board approval the end of October. In the academic community, he said, programs go through a number of processes before reaching the board.
However, with a confident smile, Hall said he anticipates board approval. "In fact," he laughed, "I’d like to invite the association membership to attend the meeting."
HTA President Lisa Hamilton introduced Melody Rames, VIPD information officer, who presented the department’s five officers of the month, from diminutive newly sworn-in officer Quianah Molyneaux, of the Leander Jurgen Command Patrol on St. John, August honoree, to nine-year veteran detective Maha Hamdan of the St. Thomas Forensic Bureau, August honoree.
Other officers honored were Alester Carty, Zone C command, St. Thomas, July honoree; officer Denley Williams, Leander Jurgen Command, St. John, June honoree; and officer Tiffany Tyson, of the same command on St. John, July honoree.
The HTA presented each of the honorees with a two-night stay at one of the island’s hotels.