Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards

12th Annual Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator awards

June 8, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.


The School of Hotel Administration has selected Randy Smith, co-founder and former chairman of STR, to receive the 2021 Cornell Hospitality Icon of the Industry Award.

Join us for a virtual award ceremony as we honor a visionary leader in the global hospitality and travel industry while raising funds to support student scholarships.

The ceremony will include remarks by Dean Kate Walsh and a fireside chat with Randy moderated by Linda Canina, the Georges C. and Marian St. Laurent Professor in Applied Business Management, academic co-director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE), and academic director of the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). We will also honor the 2021 Business Plan Competition Winners.

The evening will conclude with breakout sessions where you can hear from past Business Plan Competition contestants and learn more about the different companies, their professional journeys, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

This event will kick off a week-long series of SHA events. SHA alumni, faculty, and staff register here. Non-SHA alumni, faculty, staff, and corporate partners, register here.


Diamond Sponsors

Hilton Logo

Stonebridge Logo

STR Logo

Platinum Sponsors

Jll Logo

CHS Logo


Gold Sponsors

Deloitte Logo

IDeaS Logo

Thank you to our loyal supporters - helping to make this event a success for several years

Thank you to the above companies for your support for the tenacious pursuit of excellence and innovation. To learn about opportunities to support this prestigious celebration of achievement, please contact Jennifer Mayo ’13 (CALS), director of external relations, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, at or 607.255.3101.

About the Cornell Icon of the Industry Award

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

Chris Nassetta headshot

Chris Nassetta (2019)

President and CEO, Hilton Worldwide
Arne Sorenson

Arne Sorenson (2018)

President and CEO, Marriott International
Isadore Sharp

Isadore Sharp (2016)

Founder and Chairman, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Barry S. Sternlicht

Barry S. Sternlicht (2015)

Chairman and CEO, Starwood Capital Group
The Mariani Family

The Mariani Family (2014)

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

Tom Pritzker (2013)

Executive Chairman, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
The Tisch Familiy

The Tisch Family (2012)

The Tisch Family (2012)
James S. Tisch ’75
Andrew H. Tisch ’71
Jonathan M. Tisch

Charles F. Feeney

Charles F. Feeney '56 (2010)

Co-Founder, Duty Free Shoppers; Founding Chairman,The Atlantic Philanthropies
J.W. Marriott, Jr.

J.W. Marriott, Jr. (2009)

Chairman & CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

About the Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award

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