Categorized | Education

Starwood Hawaii creates scholarship endowment to honor Vieira

Donna Vuchinich, President & CEO at University of Hawaii Foundation, presents Starwood’s Keith Vieira with a plaque commemorating the endowed scholarship founded in his name. (Photo courtesy of Starwood Hawaii)


Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii has announced the creation of The Keith Vieira Hoowaiwai a Hoonaauao Endowed Scholarship to honor Keith Vieira’s 36-year career in the visitor industry, 33 of which he spent with Starwood.

Vieira currently serves as senior vice president and director of operations for Hawaii and French Polynesia at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

The announcement of the scholarship was made at a celebration honoring both Vieira’s end-of-year retirement and Starwood Hawaii’s 50-year partnership with Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts.

Kyo-ya is the owner of Starwood’s four Waikiki properties, Sheraton Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, and the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.

“As a valued friend, mentor and colleague, we created an endowed scholarship in Keith’s name at his alma mater, the University of Hawaii’s Shidler College of Business,” said Cheryl Williams, Starwood Hawaii’s regional director of sales & marketing. “The scholarship will support undergraduate and graduate students from Hawaii high schools pursuing degrees at the Shidler College of Business.”

Williams added, “Hoowaiwai a Hoonaauao means to be enriched by education, a phrase that best reflects Keith’s passion for mentoring others and for his ongoing commitment to education. He has truly dedicated his career to mentoring Hawaii students and has been instrumental in launching the careers of many through Starwood Hotels & Resorts Management Trainee Program in partnership with our ownership groups, including Kyo-ya.

“We invite those who have worked with Keith over the years, or have been inspired by his enormous contributions to Hawaii’s visitor industry, to enrich this endowment with additional funding as a way to honor one of our industry’s greatest leaders.”

Under Vieira’s leadership, Starwood has grown to 14 hotels in Hawaii and French Polynesia, representing five of Starwood’s nine brands including flagship Westins and Sheratons and award-winning icons like The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, the St. Regis Princeville and the St. Regis Bora Bora.

Born and raised in Hilo, Vieira graduated from the Shidler College of Business with a degree in personnel and industrial relations. He began his career with Starwood in 1980, beginning a rise into progressively more responsible management positions. He was named to lead the region in 1998.

A leader in Hawaii’s visitor industry, Vieira has served two terms as a member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Vieira also serves on the boards of numerous local charities, including chairing three local charter school boards, Kualapuu School, Waimea Middle School and Kamaile Academy, and has advocated for increased funding for early childhood education.

He has worked with Kapiolani Community College and Leeward Community College in an advisory capacity. Keith serves on the Shidler College of Business Advisory Council and participates actively in the College’s MBA Mentoring Program.

Vieira thanked his industry peers and Starwood colleagues for creating this scholarship in his name.

“I am wholeheartedly committed to growing and strengthening Hawaii’s visitor industry, but I am also passionate about and personally driven to nurture Hawaii’s future business leaders,” Vieira said. “I am greatly honored by this effort to grow the talent we have in these Islands.”

Those wishing to contribute additional funding to The Keith Vieira Hoowaiwai a Hoonaauao Endowed Scholarship are invited to visit

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