Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards

8th Annual Icon and Innovator Awards

The annual Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Awards is the School of Hotel Administration's premier fundraising event, and a celebration to honor visionary leaders in hospitality, business, and philanthropy. Contributions to the event support the school's annual fund, which provides key funding to scholarships and programs.

Save the date for June 7, 2016

Announcing the 2016 Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Honorees

Isadore Sharp

Isadore Sharp

Founder and chairman, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
2016 Cornell Icon of the Industry

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 honors recognizing his lifelong commitment to philanthropy.

Ted Teng '79

President and CEO, The Leading Hotels of the World
2016 Cornell Hospitality Innovator

Throughout his nearly 40-year career in the hospitality industry, Ted Teng '79 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, Teng 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.

Ted Teng '79

Corporate Supporters
Premier Media Supporter
USA Today
Platinum Level
Hilton Worldwide InterContinental Hotels Group Jones Lang LaSalle
The Leading Hotels of the World PwC Questex Hospitality Group
Stonebridge Companies Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces  
Gold Level
583 Park Avenue Duetto Research France24
Hersha Hospitality Trust Preferred Hotels and Resorts Wyndham Hotel Group  

To join us as a corporate supporter of this prestigious celebration of achievement, please contact Jennifer Macera '13, associate director of corporate and foundation relations, at or 607.255.3101.

The Cornell Icon of the Industry 

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.

Past Award Recipients

Barry S. Sternlicht The Mariani Family Tom Pritzker
Barry S. Sternlicht (2015)
Chairman and CEO
Starwood Capital Group
The Mariani Family & 
Banfi Vintners (2014)

James Mariani MBA '91
Virginia Mariani-Kitt '82
Harry Mariani
Cristina Mariani-May
John Mariani '54 (not pictured)
Tom Pritzker (2013)
Executive Chairman,
Hyatt Hotels Corporation
The Tisch Family The Hilton Family Charles F. Feeney '56
The Tisch Family (2012)
James S. Tisch '75 
Andrew H. Tisch '71 
Jonathan M. Tisch
The Hilton Family &
The Conrad N. Hilton
Foundation (2011)
Charles F. Feeney '56 (2010)
Co-Founder, Duty Free Shoppers;
Founding Chairman, The Atlantic Philanthropies
  The Hilton Family  
  J.W. Marriott, Jr. (2009)
Chairman & CEO
Marriot International, Inc.

The Cornell Hospitality Innovator 

The Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award honors extraordinary leaders who have created, built, or sustained contemporary, market-leading innovation in hospitality and travel enterprises. View past Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award recipients.