Cornell School of Hotel Administration announces Hospitality Icon and Innovator award honorees

Jan 26, 2016

Contact: Meg Hardie Keilbach '88, associate dean for alumni affairs and development, 607.255.9542, mhb7@cornell.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Ithaca, NY, January 26, 2016 - Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration (SHA) has announced the 2016 award recipients to be honored at the 8th annual Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Awards at 584 Park Avenue in New York City on June 7, 2016.

At this premier fundraising event, SHA will present the Cornell Icon of the Industry Award to Isadore Sharp, founder and chairman of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and the Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award to Theodore Teng, president and CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World.

The Cornell Icon of the Industry Award honors the lifetime achievements of hospitality and travel industry visionaries for their professional and philanthropic contributions that have transformed the global industry and society. In 1961, Isadore Sharp opened the first Four Seasons - a motor hotel in Toronto, Canada - and over the last five decades, Four Seasons has grown into the world’s leading luxury hospitality company. Today, the Company, which maintains its single brand-focus on luxury hospitality, operates 96 hotels, resorts and branded residences around the globe.

From pioneering approaches to service, to setting the standard for in-room amenities and the bold rethinking of hotel features, Four Seasons has come to define modern luxury travel with a well-established reputation for operating some of the very best luxury hotels in the world.  With a guiding philosophy based on the Golden Rule – the simple idea of treating others as you would have them treat you – Sharp elevated the role of Four Seasons employees to deliver a highly personalized brand of service and in the process created one of the world’s greatest service cultures. Today more than 43,000 Four Seasons employees are united around a commitment to service excellence that embodies the guiding values and philosophies set out by Sharp.  

Sharp’s commitment to service is reflected in the company’s culture of giving and social responsibility which is focused on advancing cancer research, building communities and supporting sustainability. Sharp’s influence also extends to his numerous philanthropic associations. He is the founder of the annual Terry Fox Run, the largest single-day fundraising event for cancer research worldwide, which has raised more than $650 million to date. He is also a generous supporter of the arts in Canada, and is the recipient of many global awards and honours recognizing his lifelong commitment to philanthropy.

The Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award is given annually by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at SHA as a tribute to extraordinary leaders who have developed new approaches to hospitality industry enterprises. Throughout his nearly 40-year career in the hospitality industry, Ted Teng has been responsible for the growth of some of the most prominent brands in the world. Since joining The Leading Hotels of the World in 2008, Teng has been dedicated to reigniting the 88-year-old brand.  Through a collaborative approach with the hotel membership, he is focused on reimagining and redefining a differentiated business model for Leading Hotels to better serve its member hotels. Teng holds firm to his motto “Preserve, Enhance, and Invent” – honoring the traditions of the company while innovating to achieve greater strength and success in the future. Teng is 1979 graduate of SHA, and has served on the dean’s advisory board and been a long time member of the Cornell Hotel Society.

“It is with great pride that we honor Mr. Sharp and Mr. Teng for their remarkable contributions to the hospitality industry,” said Michael D. Johnson, the Bradley H. Stone Dean and E. M. Statler professor at SHA. “Each represent the embodiment of ‘life is service,’ and serve as an inspiration for the students of SHA.”

Since its inception in 2009, the Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Awards has grown to be the largest event on the SHA calendar, attracting more than 700 of the most influential leaders and innovators in the hospitality and travel industry from 17 countries. The event raises funds to support SHA's scholarships and programs.

To date, the following companies have pledged their support for this event at the Platinum level, Hilton Worldwide, The Leading Hotels of the World, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Questex Hospitality Group, Stonebridge Companies, and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces; and at the Gold level, 583 Park Ave, Duetto, France24, Hersha Hospitality Trust, HotelPlanner.com, and Wyndham Hotel Group.

For details about the 8th Annual Cornell Icon and Innovator Awards Dinner or opportunities for corporate support, visit https://sha.cornell.edu/corporations-recruiters/events/cornell-hospitality-icon-innovator-awards.html or contact Jennifer Macera ’13, associate director of corporate and foundation relations, at js372@cornell.edu or 607.255.3101.