The University of West Florida introduced the MacQueen Hospitality, Recreation and Resort Management Program to the public at a press conference on Feb. 26. The announcement followed a $250,000 pledge to the program in January from Innisfree Hotels founders, Julian and Kim MacQueen.
The partnership with Innisfree Hotels will give UWF students opportunities for onsite training, internships and field experiences with the company.
More than 200 students are enrolled in the hospitality, recreation and resort management program. The program is the first to be named after individuals.
Xuan Tran, associate professor in the program, said that he sees the partnership as a bridge between the university and community. He said working with Innisfree Hotels will allow faculty and students to research service quality for hotel guests.
“This partnership will connect UWF to local business to create another opportunity for the university to contribute to Pensacola,” Tran said.
Christina Dawson, a UWF alumna and former student of Tran, works for Innisfree Hotels as a front office manager for the Holiday Inn Resort on Pensacola Beach. She started as a front desk clerk in 2011, during the spring semester of her junior year.
“Innisfree is very involved in the community,” Dawson said. “Hearing about the partnership with the college made me excited. I look forward to the internship programs they’ll be implementing to give students more job opportunities.”
Innisfree Hotels owns and manages hotels throughout the southeast including six hotels and resorts on the beaches of Florida and Alabama.
“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,” Julian MacQueen said in a university press release.