The Hilton Family receives the SHA 2011 Icon of the Industry Award

Jan 26, 2011

Contact: Ashlee McGandy, 607.254.1368,

The School of Hotel Administration today named the Hilton Family, creators and former owners of Hilton Hotels, and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, as the recipients of the 2011 Icon of the Industry Award. This award formally recognizes members of the Hilton family for their lifetime achievements as international business leaders in the hospitality industry. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will also be honored for its many philanthropic contributions to society.

"The Hilton Family’s extraordinary professional achievements and humanitarian efforts have benefited both the global hospitality industry and the world," said Michael D. Johnson, dean and E. M. Statler Professor of Hotel Administration. "Their worldwide success in developing Hilton Hotels into one of the world’s most recognized brands, as well as their commitment to improving the lives of people throughout the world, has made an enormous impact on the global business and philanthropy. We look forward with great anticipation to honoring both the Hilton Family and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation with the 2011 Cornell Icon of the Industry Award."

The Hilton family, which will receive the award at a gala dinner in New York City on June 7, maintains stewardship of the family philanthropy that is deeply influenced by the principles cherished by Hilton Hotels founder, Conrad Hilton. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by Conrad Hilton who left his fortune to help the world’s disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in five priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, caring for vulnerable children, and extending Conrad Hilton’s support for the work of Catholic Sisters. Following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception through 2010, the Foundation awarded nearly $940 million in grants, distributing more than $100 million in 2010 The Foundation's current assets are approximately $2 billion.

Barron Hilton, one of Conrad’s sons, serves as chairman of the Foundation board, while another son, Eric, serves as director. Barron’s son, Steven Hilton, serves as president and CEO of the Foundation. Other Hilton family members serving on the board include Conrad Hilton III, Hawley Hilton McAuliffe, and William B. Hilton, Jr.

The Cornell Icon & Innovator Awards Dinner began in 2009 and honored J. W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr. The 2010 edition honored Charles “Chuck” Feeney. This special event, the largest on the School of Hotel Administration’s calendar, raises funds for the school's scholarships and programs. Current sponsors include: Title Sponsor~Hilton Worldwide; Media Partner~USA TODAY; Strategic Marketing and Event Consultant~Amazing Taste, LLC; The Bernstein Companies, Deloitte, FRANCE 24, Hersha Hospitality Trust, Hospitality Architecture + Design, Hospitality Design, Hotel Business, Hotel Management,,, HOTELS, HotelYearbook, International Hotel Investment Forum-Berlin, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Richard H. Kennedy '56, The Lodging Conference 2011, Marriott, Oneida, PAR Springer-Miller Systems, PhoCusWright, RCI, Southworth Development, Stonebridge Companies, Thayer Lodging Group, TravelCom, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, The Wall Street Journal, Wyndham Hotel Group and Ypartnership.

For more details about the 3rd Annual Cornell Icon & Innovator Awards Dinner, please visit: Or, contact Joe Strodel, Jr., director of the School of Hotel Administration’s corporate and foundation affairs, at or 607.255.4646.