Leland C. Pillsbury Named Rhodes Professor at Cornell University

Apr 22, 2010

Leland C. "Lee" Pillsbury has been named Cornell University's newest Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of 1956 Professor. A 1969 graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration (SHA), Pillsbury is chairman and CEO of Thayer Lodging Group, a real estate investment fund that has generated three subsequent Thayer funds, an internet-based marketing firm that serves the global hospitality industry, and a web-based hotel reservation platform for China's domestic hotel industry. Before starting his own businesses, Pillsbury was the youngest executive vice president in the history of the Marriott Corporation.

"Lee will be an outstanding Rhodes Professor," said Michael D. Johnson, dean and E. M. Statler Professor at SHA. "His experience as an entrepreneur and his knowledge of real estate, the global hospitality industry, and internet commerce are extensive. He will be an important mentor for undergraduates throughout the university."

In 2006, Pillsbury and his wife, Mary, made a transformational gift to SHA to establish the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship and were honored by being named foremost benefactors and builders of Cornell. They also support the men's rowing team and have established a significant scholarship fund at SHA.

Pillsbury currently serves on the Cornell University Council, the SHA Dean's Advisory Board, the advisory board of the Pillsbury Institute, the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Advisory Council, his class's reunion major gifts committees, and the Cornell Rowing Association Advisory Board. He has been a guest lecturer at SHA and the Johnson Graduate School of Management. In addition to his BS in Hotel Administration, Pillsbury earned an MBA from Northwestern University's J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Rhodes Professorships enhance the undergraduate experience by bringing to Cornell individuals from every walk of life who are at the pinnacle of their careers in scholarship, public life, government, international affairs, health, nutrition, agriculture, business and industry, the professions, the arts, communication, or any comparable field. Pillsbury will visit Ithaca for one week during each year that he serves as a Rhodes Professor and will connect with students from many of Cornell's schools and colleges.