Sandals Resorts International (SRI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The University of the West Indies (The UWI) and Florida International University’s (FIU) Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management to create the Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality & Tourism. It will become the first institute of higher learning aimed exclusively at the study of hospitality and tourism in the Caribbean, where the industry is a main economic driver.
A cutting-edge, research-led facility, the fully accredited Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality & Tourism will provide undergraduate and post-grad students from all over the world with an immersive learning and real-life training experience, connecting the academic excellence of The UWI and FIU with meaningful opportunities to apply their studies outside the classroom.
According to Adam Stewart, executive chairman of SRI and son of Sandals Resorts founder, the late Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the new school fulfills a lifelong dream of his father to create opportunity through education and demonstrate the ability of the region to lead the international tourism and hospitality conversation.
“Creating opportunity through education is fundamental to our organization and to the successful future of the Caribbean, as it is to all people seeking a better life for themselves and their families. This conviction, so deeply held by my father, was fostered by experience and in long conversations begun so many years ago with the great Professor, Sir Hilary Beckles (The UWI Vice Chancellor). This partnership is so deeply meaningful and the work ahead extremely vital. Sandals has proven that what is born of this region can successfully compete against any brand on an international stage. Now, together with powerhouses The UWI and my alma mater FIU – two world-leading academic institutions, we embark upon building the world’s premier institute for the study of hospitality and tourism, the Caribbean’s economic engine.Th This is truly, a dream come true.”
The Gordon “Butch” Stewart International School of Hospitality of Tourism will be located at the Western Jamaica Campus of The University of the West Indies in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where plans to break ground are underway and completion set for 2023.
“We are proud to partner with Sandals Resorts International and the University of West Indies, two highly respected institutions in the Caribbean and both leaders in the hospitality industry,” said Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, President of the Florida International University. “At FIU, we already welcome international students from the Caribbean from 20 different countries. Offering even more students, the opportunity to study, learn and live in two hospitality destinations learning and working from iconic leading institutions and brands like Sandals, UWI and FIU, is historic. We also need to acknowledge SRI Executive Chairman Adam Stewart BS ’03, who has followed in his father’s footsteps in business, leadership and generosity. This partnership will create a perfect avenue for students looking to advance their hospitality education in two of the top tourist destinations in the world, resulting in a new generation of hospitality leaders.”
Commenting on the landmark collaboration, Vice-Chancellor, The University of the West Indies, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles said: “Tourism is our number one business in the Caribbean and The UWI is its number one university. FIU has been a respected partner to Caribbean people and institutions for decades and, counts many distinguished Jamaicans among its graduates and professors. It follows therefore that the three of us should collaborate to ensure our individual and collective oneness. The Sandals brand and its product are excellent and exquisite. The UWI is honored to work with Adam Stewart, its leader, to celebrate the respected legacy of his father, the brilliant Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart. The idea of building up a first-class tourism and hospitality school within The UWI to honor this legend is at once exciting and energizing. The UWI-Sandals-FIU engagement is therefore a powerful and progressive partnership that will serve our region very well in the years ahead.”
Stewart shared: “My father believed in learning by experience – ‘on-the-job training,’ as he often put it. As a consummate entrepreneur and a lifelong dreamer, he knew success was born beyond the boardroom, found instead in moments of exploration and discovery. It is this understanding that will inspire the world-class curriculum we’re creating that puts students in real-world experiences as part of their development. It’s an education my dad would’ve appreciated very much.”
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Seen in Photo L-R: Dr. Michael Cheng, Dean, Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, FIU; Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, President, Florida International University; Mr. Adam Stewart, CD, Executive Chairman, Sandals Resorts International; Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor, The UWI; and Prof. Dale Webber, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Principal, The UWI (Mona).