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Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board funding endowed scholarships at UB

  • From left are Shavonne Darville, vice president, BOIPB; Dean Spychalla, president, BOIPB; Dr. Rodney D. Smith, president, UB; Kerry Fountain, executive director, BOIPB; and Cheryl Bastian, treasurer, BOIPB. UNIVERSITY OF THE BAHAMAS

Published: Jun 19, 2017

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The Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board (BOIPB) is collaborating with the University of The Bahamas (UB) to build capacity for skilled human capital as the bedrock for robust economies in the Family Islands.

BOIPB is contributing $550,000 to establish the Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board Endowed Educational Fund at UB to increase access to university education for students on Abaco, Acklins, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Harbour Island, Long Island and San Salvador. These are the islands on which the BOIPB has member properties.

Under the memorandum of understanding between the BOIPB and UB, signed on Tuesday, June 6, flexible entrance and in-course scholarships for full-time undergraduate students will be funded in perpetuity. As an added measure, BOIPB scholars will be afforded internships at Family Island hotels and businesses to increase their professional development exposure and training.

President of the BOIPB Dean Spychalla, who proposed the scholarship program, anticipates that the biggest impact will be in the lives of the scholars and Family Island communities.

“The number of students that this will impact in this first year is 13 – one student from each of the 11 islands where the Bahama Out Island Promotion Board has a membership hotel. The selection process is going to be done via the coordination between the University of The Bahamas and the local high school principal on that island,” said Spychalla.

“It may be that we have a student [at UB] from one of the islands that has been here for a year or two and cannot continue to stay in school because of funding, so that person could also be eligible for the scholarship. This will happen over the next many number of years; 13 students per year.”

The expectation is that those scholars will return to their communities as professionals in the workforce.

“We do hope that they return to the Out Islands to help us grow the economy of 84 percent of the land mass of the country. A lot of people do not realize that the Out Islands make up 84 percent of the land mass of The Bahamas and are 100 percent unspoiled,” he said.

BOIPB Executive Director Kerry Fountain said that in order to make the scholarships more accessible, students in any academic discipline can apply.

“We believe that everybody is involved in the business of tourism, whether you are a graphic artist, doctor, lawyer, accountant, or are studying environmental science. These are all services that we feel fall under the banner of tourism, and that is why we didn’t limit the scholarships to just tourism and hospitality.”

Fountain was particularly enthused about the BOIPB Educational Fund contributing to endowed scholarships at the national university.

“We had no intention of an endowment program with UB, but as we started to talk with UB, we realized that it makes no sense doing this with a university in the U.S. or Canada when we have our own university right here at home.”

University of The Bahamas President Dr. Rodney D. Smith was grateful that UB had solidified another partnership that will increase the participation in higher education throughout the country.

“This MOU represents the tremendous amount of corporate support that UB needs now and into the future to build endowed scholarship funds for students. This will benefit students throughout our country, particularly in the Family Islands,” said Smith.

“We are very happy that the BOIPB made the decision to invest in an endowed scholarship program, because this is one way that this scholarship will continue to grow and educate students long after all of us are gone. Hundreds of years from now, this scholarship will still be in existence providing education for future generations of students.”

The UB students who are awarded this scholarship, known as Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board ambassadors, will also participate in community engagement and speaking opportunities on behalf of the Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board.



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