Friday, December 4, 2015

Hall Honored with Tommy Star and Thurgood Marshall Awards

President Hall (left) and Professor Tamara Lang (right) pose with Hospitality students at the Tommy Star Awards. (Photo right) Dr. Hall stands with TMCF Educational Leadership Award.
In its 50 plus years, the University of the Virgin Islands has received numerous awards on behalf of its stellar students, prestigious faculty and is associated with greatness because of its talented alumni.
This fall, UVI’s fifth president Dr. David Hall, received local and national awards for his leadership and dedication to excellence.
U.S. Congress Woman Alma Adams presented President Hall with the Thurgood Marshall Educational Leadership Award on Nov. 16, at the 27th annual Thurgood Marshall Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.
“My charge as I see it is to give this community a license to dream again, to believe in each other again and reach for the stars of greatness,” said Adams as she quoted Dr. Hall.
Dr. Hall (left) accepts Thurgood Marshall 
Award from Congress Woman Alma Adams &
 Johnny C. Taylor, TMCF president & CEO.  
 “Under Dr. Hall’s leadership UVI has made important strides towards raising the image and the position of the University,” Adams said. “He has implemented new programs and increased resources to ensure that all students who enter the University achieve and realize their dreams of academic success on both campuses.”
This award is compelling evidence that the University is on the right path, said President Hall, before an audience of celebrities, industry leaders, and hundreds of Thurgood Marshall Scholars in the International Ballroom at the Washington Hilton.
“This prestigious award is not for me, but for the faculty, staff, students, cabinet members and president’s office staff of a unique and wonderful University that is located in paradise, but whose mission is to transform stifled dreams into unlimited possibilities,” he said. “Our Strategic Plan requires us to work hard to make sure that every student who graduates from UVI, is academically sensitive, entrepreneurially excellent, globally sensitive, entrepreneurially focused, emotionally and spiritually balanced and willing to serve the world.”
A UVI delegation poses with Dr. Hall at the TMCF Gala.
 “Dr. Hall is one of the hardest-working, steadfast leaders in the HBCU community,” said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., TMCF president and CEO. “There are few higher education executives who have the ability to lead with vision – always seeking cutting-edge solutions and creating a vibrant 21st century HBCU.” 
The TMCF Education Leadership Award is the highest individual award presented annually to a president of an HBCU who has demonstrated outstanding business, academic and visionary leadership through effective management of his or her institution.
A small delegation of UVI administrators, staffers, deans and 11 students from the St. Thomas Campus and the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix were present at the gala. The students were in Washington, D.C. attending the annual TMCF Leadership Institute. A delegation of students attend the institute annually.  
Tommy Star Award of Excellence
Just two days before being nationally recognized by the TMCF, Dr. Hall was honored by the USVI Hotel and Tourism Association at the Annual Tommy Star Awards.
Dr. Hall was presented with the Tommy Star Award of Excellence for his role in creating UVI’s Hospitality and Tourism Program.
 “When he first took over as president of UVI and discovered we did not have a hospitality program, he proactively reached out to the association to see how we could rally and remedy the situation,” said USVI-Hotel and Tourism Association President Lisa Hamilton.  “Dr. Hall was the key driver in ensuring this program was brought to life and now we have about 100 students enrolled.”
President Hall accepts the Tommy Star
Award of Excellence
“One of my proudest achievements as the fifth president of the University of the Virgin Islands is the fact that we have been able to assemble a group of individuals who are dreaming about greatness for this University,” said President Hall. “That is a combination of people who were here when I arrived and others who have come on board, others who have changed their position, but all of us have embraced the notion that UVI can be a great University.”
“The vision of the University of the Virgin Islands is to move away from working on, dreaming about, thinking about greatness – to implementing greatness,” he said. “This award is not just an award for me. It’s an award for dreamers and the fact that people can work together and bring something into reality.”
Dr. Hall said that he is standing in for the many individuals who have worked to bring the program about.
“This award is special to me because you can get an award for some singular act that you have done, but this award is one that is solely about the collective of individuals who wanted to change the reality of what existed at the University and in the Territory,” he said.  “To be the symbol of that makes it very special.”
The HTA also presented UVI Professor Tamara Lang with an award for her work as director of the University’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. Students enrolled in UVI’s Hospitality Degree Program can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. “In our program we teach our students about all of the industries that are in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry—from the cruise lines, resorts to travel and tourism,” said Lang. “Tourism and Hotel Management is the number one growing industry in the world and we are expanding. In the Caribbean, of course, it is our life bread.”
Additionally, Cathriellah Shabazz, a UVI Hotel and Tourism senior, was nominated for the Tommy Award’s Associate of the Year. Shabazz, who attends classes on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, believes and strives to deliver exceptional service.
President Hall (left) and Professor Tamara Lang (right)
pose with Hospitality students at the Tommy Star Awards.
Each student must complete approximately 200 to 300 hours in internships within the industry. Students on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix are participating in internships through the program. Students participate in tours, site visits, lectures, hospitality community projects, special events, laboratory experiences and more. The hospitality program received national recognition, ranking number 26, in a list of “50 Most Affordable Small Colleges for Hospitality Administration and Management.”