Graduates of the program are prepared for jobs in one of Florida’s top industries

Tourism and hospitality are the lifeblood of Florida’s economy and one of the leading industries for jobs in the state. That’s why educating, engaging, and elevating the next generation for careers in the hospitality industry is so important.

To that end, more than $200,000 was raised during the recent R. Motwani Family Gala on Thursday, October 26, at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach. Proceeds from the event will benefit Broward College students enrolled in the R. Motwani Family Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Through the program, the industry comes to life with experiential learning and hands-on experiences. Students have access to scholarships, internships, and leaders in the industry who mentor and guide them through their education.

“It has been rewarding to see students graduate and thrive in their careers over these past four years since the Academy was first established,” said Ramola Motwani, chairwoman of Merrimac Ventures, a Fort Lauderdale-based real estate development and investment firm with hotel, residential and commercial projects. “These students learn so much, both in and out of the classroom, from this program. That’s important because when you think about it, we are all in the hospitality business.”

The R. Motwani Family Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Broward College was established to honor the memory of Ramesh “Bob” Motwani by his wife Ramola and sons Nitin and Dev to recognize Bob’s legacy, leadership, and commitment to the hospitality industry.

During the Gala, guests enjoyed meeting with students and learning about how the program is uplifting and transforming their lives. Matt Caldwell, President and CEO of the Florida Panthers, was the evening’s featured speaker.

“We appreciate the generosity of sponsors, donors, and supporters, particularly Ramola and the entire Motwani family, who continue to positively impact our students in so many ways,” said Megan R. Cottle, Vice President for Advancement at Broward College and Executive Director of the Broward College Foundation. “Our goal is to ignite students’ passion with a strong curriculum and pathway so they can thrive and are career-ready upon graduation.”

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 room 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. Additionally, more than 20 high schools in Broward County have hospitality, tourism, and management programs that provide a pipeline to Broward College.

Sponsors of the gala included Uplifting Presenting Sponsors: Stearns Weaver Miller and Newmark; Elevating Students Sponsors: Bank of America, Bilzin Sumberg, Greenberg Traurig, LLC; OneWorld Properties, and Hotwire Communications; Investing in our Students Sponsors: Cleveland Clinic, Four Seasons Hotel and Residences Fort Lauderdale, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits; Rick Case Automotive Group, and E11Even Miami; Student Empowerment Sponsors: AGI Capital Management, Broward Health, Coastal Construction, Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, Consolidated Credit,, Driftwood Capital, FRLA Broward Chapter, FRLA Educational Foundation, Lockton, MRKT Collective LLC, Sitero LLC and The Wharf Fort Lauderdale; Student Opportunities Sponsors: City National Bank and Sprinklermatic Fire Protection Systems, Inc.; Elevating Education Sponsors: Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach, BankUnited, Leader Bank, Lochrie & Chakas, PA, Riemer Insurance Group, Inc., Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and ST Paper and ST Tissue; and Supporters: Bashful Daisy Florist, Beauchamp Construction Company, Inc. JetBlue and Salma Merchant.


To view photos of the 2023 R. Motwani Family Gala, click here.

Photo Credit: Downtown Photo.