$1 Million Grant Establishes Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Scholarship

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has granted the Cornell School of Hotel Administration (SHA) $1 million to establish the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Scholarship fund for undergraduate students. This two-year, current-use scholarship, will provide tuition support for ten to fifty students each year and comes at a time when the need for financial aid is at an unprecedented high.

“Financial aid support is one of our top fundraising priorities,” said Michael D. Johnson, dean and E. M. Statler Professor at SHA, “and we extend our deepest gratitude to the Hilton Foundation for this generous gift, one of the largest scholarship gifts in the school’s history.”

Like all of Cornell University, the School of Hotel Administration admits students regardless of their ability to pay. While helping to create a socioeconomically diverse student body with a broad range of cultural and intellectual perspectives, this need-blind admissions policy is expensive. More than 60 percent of SHA students currently receive some form of financial aid, and, because of the compounding effect of tuition increases and the current financial crisis, the demand is growing.

“Only a portion of SHA’s financial aid budget is met through scholarships,” Johnson explained. “The remaining funds come out of our operating budget. Thanks to the Hilton Foundation grant—and similar gifts—we can continue our need-blind admissions practice while also investing in faculty, academic programs, and facilities.”

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and 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. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $900 million in grants and distributed $80 million in 2009.  The Foundation's current assets are nearly $2 billion. For more information, please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org.