R. Motwani Family Academy Gala to Raise Funds for Hospitality and Tourism Program at Broward College

Graduates of program prepared for jobs in Florida’s number one industry

With the tourism industry continuing to surge and Visit Florida reporting 37.9 million tourists visited the state in the first quarter of 2023, a trained  workforce needed to service the industry continues to increase. These strong numbers indicate a vibrant and solid sector with bountiful jobs in the hospitality and tourism industry. At the beginning of this year, in Broward County alone, 93,500 people worked in tourism, according to the Visit Lauderdale Hospitality Report.

Support for students who will fill those jobs and to ensure they are well prepared to work in Florida’s number one industry is critical. Once again, this year the Motwani Family Academy Gala, in partnership with Broward College Foundation, will raise funds to help students pursue a career in hospitality.

The Motwani Family Academy Gala is set for Thursday, October 26 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach. The celebration includes a cocktail reception, dinner and a focus on student success stories, demonstrating how the program uplifts students and transforms lives.

President and CEO of the Florida Panthers, Matthew Caldwell, is the guest speaker at the Gala. Caldwell has led the organization’s commitment and outreach for the South Florida community through financial grants to local nonprofits, crisis relief efforts and more. Caldwell previously served as a member of the Broward College District Board of Trustees and is a member of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance CEO Council, Broward Workshop Executive Committee and Orange Bowl Committee. He will share how professional sports continue to have a positive impact on the tourism and hospitality industry and how important it is to support the next generation of students who are the future leaders in the industry.

“We are so thrilled to have Matt as a speaker this year,” said Ramola Motwani, chairwoman of Merrimac Ventures, a Fort Lauderdale-based real estate development and investment firm with hotel, residential and commercial projects. “He is so supportive of education and the tourism and hospitality industry. We appreciate all he and the Panthers organization do for our community.”

The Motwani Family Academy

The Academy was established four years ago in memory of the late Ramesh “Bob” Motwani by his wife Ramola and sons Nitin and Dev Motwani to honor the family patriarch’s legacy, leadership and commitment to the hospitality industry. The college’s Hospitality Advisory Board, which is comprised of local hotel executives, meets bi-annually to share updates about the industry, so the curriculum can be revised accordingly.

“It’s important to recognize the Motwani family and the positive impact they have had on our students,” said Paul Moore, Ed.D., Esq., Dean, Business & Management Studies at Broward College and the R. Motwani Family Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “Through the incredible generosity of the Motwani family, our students have access to internships and scholarships. They take meaningful field trips, and they learn from guest speakers who are leaders in the industry.”

The updated curriculum, internships and advice from industry leaders ensure that students are well prepared for their career after receiving an associate degree or technical certificate from Broward College.

“An investment in student opportunities is an investment in the future and that means it is essential for us to give students a quality education focused on hands-on experiences and innovative initiatives,” said Ramola. “This program at Broward College brings the industry to life through an environment of experiential learning and opportunities that result in graduates who are ready for whatever path they choose to take in hospitality.”

Ramola is driven by a passion for these students and the industry. She works tirelessly to expand the program, continuing to elevate students from high school through college. In fact, thanks to Ramola’s efforts, there are more than 20 high schools in Broward County that have a hospitality and tourism and management program which is a feeder program into Broward College.

The R. Motwani Family Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Broward College offers associate degrees in hospitality and tourism management and culinary arts management, as well as technical certificates in rooms division management, guest services specialist, food and beverage management and event planning management. The FIU Connect4Success Partnership allows Broward College students to seamlessly transfer to FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management to continue their education and earn a bachelor’s degree.

Tickets and sponsorships are available at giving.broward.edu/gala. Sponsors include Rita and Rick Case Automotive Group, Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Stearns Weaver Miller, P.A., Cleveland Clinic, Hotwire and more. For more information, email Elisa Stone at estone1@broward.edu.