Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards

12th annual Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator awards POSTPONED

We at Cornell are thinking of everyone going through the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the devastating impact it’s having on the hospitality industry. Given the uncertainty of when things might subside, we made the difficult decision to postpone the Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator awards until 2021. We look forward to celebrating with Randell and Elizabeth at that time.

Congratulations to the
2020 Cornell Icon of the
Randell Smith photo

Randell A. Smith
Chairman and Co-Founder, STR

Congratulations to the
2020 Cornell Hospitality

Elizabeth Blau MS ’97
Chief Executive Officer, Blau & Associates

Thank you to our 2019 corporate supporters


Hilton Brand Logo


Banfi Logo
DLA_Piper logo
Hotel Trades Council AFL CIO Logo
Local 6 Union logo
northwood investors logo
Sweet Street Logo
Watermark Capital Partners, LLC logo


Aethos Consulting Group logo
The Bernstein Companies logo
The Buccini Pollin Group logo
Cornell Hotel Society logo
Crescent Heights Logo
Flag Luxury Logo
The Gettys Group Logo
Hilton Grand Vacations logo
IHG logo
Questex logo
Stonebridge Companies Logo
Venable LLP logo


Atish Shah Logo
Auro Hotels Logo
Deloitte Logo
GEM Realty Capital logo
HotelPlanner Logo
JLL Logo
PWC logo
Pyramid Hotel Group Logo
Ropes & Gray Logo
SpencerStuart Logo

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