A Deserving Doctorate for an Honourable Honouree!

Adam Stewart to be awarded by The UWI

By Earl Bousquet
Image of Adam Stewart OD, easily steps into his father’s shoes as the new Executive Chairman and CEO of the region’s largest hotel group.
Adam Stewart OD, easily steps into his father’s shoes as the new Executive Chairman and CEO of the region’s largest hotel group.

One of the Caribbean’s youngest leading entrepreneurs of global fame and deserving admiration is about to be honoured by one of the world’s top leading universities with its highest non-academic award for high-value individuals who’ve given top-of-the-line and value-added service in special fields of regional and international import to the Caribbean Community.

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has listed Caribbean Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Adam Stewart for an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) for the overall contributions to the region’s tourism and travel industry by his family’s internationally famous brand-name Caribbean group of companies.

Stewart, at just 41, is the Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the parent company of the world’s most-recognised brands of luxury all-inclusive resorts — also 41 – and today one of the region’s largest employers, with over 15,000 at its 24 resorts across four brands and eight Caribbean islands.

The UWI notes that prior to his current role, Stewart spent more-than-a-decade as Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SRI, leading the brand’s transition to its now ‘Luxury Included’ signature.

In 2015, he was named Hotelier of the Year by both the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).

Also that year, Stewart was named the World Travel Awards (WTA) Rising Star and Caribbean World’s Travel and Tourism Personality of the Year; and was handed the Distinguished Alumni Torch Award by his alma mater, Florida International University (FIU).

In addition to his role with SRI, Stewart continues   to lead the family’s extensive hospitality, media, automotive and appliance business holdings, also serving as Executive Chairman of the parent ATL Group; and in 2017 he oversaw introduction of the Starbucks brand to Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Turks and Caicos and Panama.

According to The UWI, “Despite being one of the most successful and admired entrepreneurs of our time, Adam Stewart remains a proud Jamaican and Caribbean citizen, dedicating much of his time to elevating the region.

“In 2009, he founded the Sandals Foundation, a non-profit organisation that harnesses the strength of the Sandals brand to tackle issues affecting the Caribbean.”

One hundred percent (100%) of the general public’s proceeds to the Sandals Foundation goes directly to programmes benefitting the Caribbean.

Stewart is also founder and Chairman of Jamaica’s non-profit ‘We Care for Cornwall Regional Hospital’, which raises funds to improve hospital facilities.

In 2016, Stewart received Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (Commander Class) for his outstanding contribution to tourism and the hotel industry.

He was also named the ‘2016 Caribbean American Mover and Shaker – Humanitarian of the Year’ by the Caribbean Media Network.

In 2017, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) honoured him with the Jerry Award for outstanding contributions to Caribbean development.

And under his leadership in 2020, SRI responded to the Jamaican Government’s call for COVID-19 relief by handing-over Sandals Carlyle Resort free of charge for 18 months and donating JA$30M for the purchase of care packages.

Stewart sits on the Board of Directors of Wysinco Group Limited and the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

He also has a long relationship with The UWI, serving as Ambassador of the Western Jamaica Campus.

In 2021, he signed an MOU with The UWI sealing US$10M in support from the SRI toward the establishment of the Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart International School of Hospitality and Tourism in honour of his late father and Sandals founder Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.

For its part, the UWI continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development, virtually residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a University College of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, it is today an internationally-respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus,  plus 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport.

As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE).

In the latest World University Rankings 2022, released in September 2021, The UWI moved up an impressive 94 places from last year.

In the current global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, it stands among the top 1.5%.

The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018.

In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean, it is also in the top 20 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).

The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

For all these reasons offered by The UWI and earned by Adam Stewart throughout his lifelong association with the company his father built brick-by-brick, this doctorate fits the honoree in every respect – with more to be expected during the next decade.

And given his long list of listed achievements (and surely an even-longer unlisted one), at Just 40+1, it’ll surely be an exciting period to watch Adam lead SRI along the next decade’s way, as they walk the Tourism and Travel talk towards their 50th anniversary – and beyond!

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