The WSWA Educational Foundation (the charitable arm of Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America), Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, announced the launch of the Robert Qualls Scholarship Fund in memory of Robert Qualls, an extraordinary hospitality and spirits industry veteran. The scholarship fund will award a total of $100,000 in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a hospitality degree over the next five years, which will be funded equally by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. Four students per year pursuing studies in the hospitality space will be awarded $5,000 each to help fund their education expenses.
“The WSWA Educational Foundation is proud to play a part in establishing the Robert Qualls Scholarship Fund, helping the next generation of hardworking and determined students make contributions to the hospitality industry for decades to come,” says Michelle Korsmo, WSWA president and CEO. “Service and education can be the keys to success for so many like Robert. This educational program generously funded by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits will make many more dreams possible.”
“Robert started at Glazer’s in San Antonio as a route salesman in 1982 and spent 36 years with Southern Glazer’s until finishing up his career at Tito’s,” says Bennett Glazer, Executive Vice Chairman of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “He was a leader from the beginning and rose to senior management quickly. He was also the initial contact in 1998 to bring Tito’s to Glazer’s. At that time, he developed a special relationship with Tito Beveridge that lasted the rest of his life. Robert was a loyal, committed, dedicated team player with great leadership skills and will always be remembered for his infectious smile.”
The Robert Qualls Scholarship Fund strives to honor and uphold Robert’s legacy of hard work, generosity and selflessness by empowering students to follow in his footsteps. As a proud University of Texas at Austin alum, Robert started his career in the hospitality industry as a distributor sales representative. Throughout his forty-year career, which included impactful leadership roles at Southern Glazer’s and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Robert helped to build brands, manage complex businesses and mentor the next generation of spirits industry professionals.
“Robert was the kind of genuine, loyal friend that most people are lucky to meet in their lifetime,” says Tito Beveridge, founder of Tito’s Handmade Vodka. “Smart, optimistic and perpetually beaming, Robert was a true gentleman with a heart bigger than the state he was born in. His commitment to making Tito’s better every day was an inspiration to not only me, but every single person he worked with. Robert was a one-of-kind mentor, and this scholarship not only serves to honor his memory, but also to help jumpstart the studies and careers of students nationwide who seek to follow in his footsteps.”
Full-time or part-time students with an eligible connection to an alcohol producer, wholesaler or retailer may apply for the scholarship starting today through May 31 via the application link at https://www.wswa.org/scholarships. Details on eligibility are at the link. Winners are slated to be announced in August 2021 and will be selected by an independent panel of judges through a competitive application process.
Please help provide more hospitality scholarships by contributing to the Robert Qualls Scholarship Fund. You can donate at https://www.wswa.org/scholarships and choose the Robert Qualls Scholarship Fund button.
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