The program will be renamed The MacQueen Guest Experience Program.
Julian and Kim MacQueen, founders of Innisfree Hotels, pledged a $250,000 gift commitment to the University of West Florida Hospitality program.
This mutually beneficial partnership will enable UWF hospitality students to participate in onsite training, internships and field experiences at Innisfree Hotels properties located Pensacola Beach, Fla. and Orange Beach, Ala.
In turn, Innisfree will benefit from having a future workforce locally trained and integrated within the corporate culture. The partnership will also allow UWF to develop a more unified hospitality curriculum, designed to address current identified industry needs.
There are currently more than 200 students enrolled in the Hospitality, Recreation and Resort Management program at UWF. Recent partnerships, including the MacQueen gift and the direct-admit program with Northwest Florida State College are expected to increase the enrollment to more than 350 students by 2015.
“At Innisfree, we live and breathe our core principles, and believe that if you give people purpose, they’ll do a whole lot with it,” said Julian MacQueen, at a press conference hosted by UWF to announce the donation.
Innisfree believes in hiring for attitude and then teaching the skill. Mr. and Mrs. MacQueen are honored to support the hospitality faculty at UWF, and to bolster their efforts to foster excellence among subsequent generations of hospitality industry leaders.