DiamondRock Hospitality, the company that owns Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Beach Resort, on Friday launched a five-year University of the Virgin Islands hospitality scholarship program, committing a total of $150,000 to the initiative.
The launch was announced following Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.’s keynote address at the Governor’s Workforce Development Summit.
More than 150 people attended the event, held aboard the Carnival Conquest, and watched the announcement. Shalinder Singh, vice president of asset management for DiamondRock Hospitality, and Kurt Wiksten, managing director of Frenchman’s Reef Marriott Beach Resort and Noni Beach, presented a ceremonial check to Bryan and representatives of UVI. The donation represents a commitment of funding for six annual hospitality scholarships in the amount of $30,000 per year
Bryan was pleased to receive the donation.
“This is a shining example of private sector support for the USVI scholastic program,” the governor said. “DiamondRock’s Beacon of Light scholarship will give recipients the opportunity to prepare for rewarding hospitality careers in our growing tourism industry. It is through generous and ongoing support like this that the territory will achieve sustainable employment, attracting further investment to enable us to grow the economy.”
The scholarship is designated for students in the University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program who are graduates of high school in the U.S. Virgin Islands, or accredited online program, while residing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A period of time between graduation and entrance to UVI will not disqualify the applicant.
Wiksten presented the donation.
“The two exciting resorts we are opening in 2020 will need creative, intelligent and driven individuals; the very best St. Thomas has to offer,” Wiksten said. “Hospitality and tourism are a rapidly growing industry and can provide a highly challenging and rewarding career. DiamondRock is committed to developing the next generation of industry leaders. In addition to extending UVI coursework through on-the-job training and internships, we are pleased to foster growth in the community through the creation of our new Beacon of Light scholarship and encourage any full-time student seeking a career in hospitality to apply.”
Application information for the DiamondRock Hospitality Scholarships will be available in the next few days from UVI and posted in local media.