Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award

The Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award is a tribute to the extraordinary leaders who have developed new approaches to hospitality industry enterprises. The School of Hotel Administration presents the award at the annual Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards gala.

We are currently accepting nominations for an extraordinary innovator in the hospitality industry. Please fill out the nomination form to recommend an entrepreneurial or corporate innovator for the 2020 award. Nominations for the 2020 Innovator Award are due by midnight on Sunday, October 13, 2019.

2019 Award Recipients


Roger G. Hill ‘87

Chairman and CEO, The Gettys Group



Andrew J. Fay ‘87

President, The Gettys Group


Past Award Recipients

Tim Hentschel

Tim Hentschel '01 (2018)

Co-founder and CEO, Hotel Planner
John Zimmer

John Zimmer '06 (2017)

Co-Founder and President, Lyft
Ted Teng

Ted Teng '79 (2016)

President and CEO, The Leading Hotels of the World
Damian J. Mogavero

Damian J. Mogavero (2015)

Founder and CEO, Avero
Sandy Solmon

Sandy Solmon (2014)

Founder, President, and CEO, Sweet Street Desserts
Steve Ells

Steve Ells (2013)

Founder, Chairman, and Co-CEO, Chipotle Mexican Grill
Kathleen “Katie” Taylor

Kathleen “Katie” Taylor (2012)

President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Drew Nieporent

Drew Nieporent '77 (2011)

Founder and Owner, Myriad Restaurant Group
Solomon Kerzner

Solomon Kerzner (2010)

Founder, Chairman, and CEO Kerzner, International Holdings
Frederic Malek

Frederic Malek (2009)

CEO, TIG Global
Trip Schneck

Trip Schneck (2009)

President, TIG Global
Bob Alter

Bob Alter '73 (2008)

Chairman, Sunstone Hotel Investors
Gary Mendell

Gary Mendell '79 (2007)

Chairman and CEO, HEI Hotels and Resorts
Stephen Mendell

Stephen Mendell '82 (2007)

Executive Vice President, HEI Hotels and Resorts
Jay H. Shah

Jay H. Shah '90 (2007)

CEO Hersha, Hospitality Trust
Chuck Mund

Chuck Mund '51 (2006)

CEO, Mega Management
Bruce Reinstein

Bruce Reinstein '79 (2006)

Fresh City
Larry Reinstein

Larry Reinstein '77 (2006)

Fresh City