Sold-out Cornell awards gala honors hospitality luminaries, raises funds for student programs

Jun 06, 2013

Contact: Ashlee McGandy, 607.254.1368,

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At the sold-out 5th Annual Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards, 800 senior leaders from the travel and hospitality industry gathered to celebrate Tom Pritzker, executive chairman of Hyatt Hotels Corporation and chairman of Marmon Group, Inc., and Steve Ells, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill.  At the gala--which raised more than $300,000 for programs and scholarships at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration (SHA)--Pritzker received the Cornell Icon of the Industry Award and Ells received the Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award.

"The Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards has grown to be a tremendous event for our alumni and for the industry at large. It is humbling to be able honor industry leaders who have not only had a great impact on the business of hospitality but also on the global community through their dedication to the arts, philanthropy, science, and sustainability," said Michael D. Johnson, dean and E. M. Statler Professor at SHA.

The awards ceremony was held on June 4, 2013, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Simon Hobbs, co-anchor of CNBC's Squawk on the Street, was the emcee. Special guests included Pritzker's wife, Margot; his cousin, Penny, civic and business leader and President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Commerce; Frank Gehry, world-renowned Pritzker-Prize-winning architect; Andrew McCarthy, actor, author, and travel writer; and Josh Bernstein, TV host and travel explorer.

Since its inception in 2009, the Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards has grown to be the largest event on the SHA calendar, attracting influential leaders and innovators in the hospitality and travel industry from 17 countries. The event has raised nearly $900,000 for SHA scholarships and programs.

More than 70 corporate sponsors helped make the 2013 awards ceremony possible. Hyatt was the title sponsor. Travel + Leisure and USA TODAY were exclusive media co-hosts; Baccarat, Delta Airlines, Flag Luxury, Groupe du Louvre, InterContinental Hotels Group, Latham and Watkins, Marriott International, Menin Hotels, Shelborne, and the New York Observer were diamond sponsors; Amazing Taste, LLC was strategic marketing and event consultant; and Do More Good | CSK directed strategic brand marketing and design.

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About the Cornell School of Hotel Administration
The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration is shaping the global knowledge base for hospitality management through leadership in education, research and industry advancement. The school provides management instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines, educating the next generation of leaders in the world's largest industry. Founded in 1922 as the nation's first collegiate course of study in hospitality management, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration is recognized as the world leader in its field. For more information, visit