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Industry Icons to Receive Prestigious Hospitality Industry Executive of the Year Award and Lifetime Achievement Award, Discuss Industry Innovation and Leadership as Alumni and Guests Converge for Blue-White Weekend at Penn State

New York – February 7, 2017 —Commemorating its 80th year of service and leadership in the hospitality industry, the Penn State University School of Hospitality Management’s alumni group, the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS) will honor hotel industry legends and innovators Leland Pillsbury and Ray Schultz at a gala reception at the historic Nittany Lion Inn on April 20, 2017. The award and events coincide with the University’s 2017 Blue-White Weekend and football game.

Lee Pillsbury will receive the society’s Hospitality Industry Executive of the Year Award and Ray Schultz will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Donna Quadri-Felitti, Marvin Ashner Director of the School of Hospitality Management, said, “We are elated to honor these two legendary industry leaders amidst two days of robust discussions focused on thought leadership while interacting with students, faculty and distinguished guests. We are immensely grateful for Lee and Ray’s support and friendship and as together we seek to advance our school’s assets into the future. We look forward to a memorable and milestone event in our prestigious history.”

For 80 years, the Penn State School of Hospitality Management has provided outstanding leadership for a global and dynamic hospitality industry - offering innovative programs, research, service to the profession, alongside world-class faculty, staff, and students. The school inspires all students to pursue excellence in scholarship, exhibit a strong work ethic, and become successful and ethical hospitality leaders.

To learn more about the dinner and reserve attendance, please visit www.hhd.psu.edu/shm/hospitality-executive-year-event. More information on the dinner and associated activities will be released shortly.

About the Honorees

Leland (Lee) Pillsbury is co-founder and co-chairman of Thayer Lodging Group, a Brookfield Company; founder of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at the Cornell School of Hospitality Administration; and Chairman of the Board of Interstate Hotels and founder of numerous other companies. He joined Thayer Ventures recently in the role of managing director, and is a pioneer in supporting industry education and innovation at all levels.  

Among other businesses, Pillsbury co-founded Thayer Lodging Group, where he spent more than 20 years overseeing strategic expansion and a successful sale to Brookfield Asset Management. He is now a senior advisor to Brookfield Global Lodging. He began his career with a 19-year tenure with Marriott Hotels, where he rose to the position of EVP, revamping the group’s pricing strategies, creating the industry’s first revenue and yield management systems and more. Pillsbury has launched and directed close to 20 companies since that time.

Lee Pillsbury said, “I am delighted and honored to receive this award from PSHRS, and its diverse, talented community of scholars, teachers and students. I look forward to working closely with Donna and her team to continue to bring a spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and learning in the month ahead.”

Last year, Pillsbury funded the Mary M. and Leland C. Pillsbury Trustee Scholarship, providing financial aid to help students achieve success at Penn State.

Raymond E. Schultz, also known as Ray, has been the Chairman and President of RES Investments LLC since January 1999. Schultz served as the Chief Executive Officer of Promus Hotel Corporation, as the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Hotel Division of Promus Companies Incorporated and as the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Hampton Inn/Homewood Suites Hotel Division.

Schultz began his career in hospitality after graduating from Penn State with a degree in labor management, servicing the Holiday Inns account for IBM after he got out of the Air Force as an F-89 pilot.  After leading the development of the Holidex system, he ultimately joined Holiday Inns, Inc. where he held leadership positions including Vice President of Information Systems, and Chief Marketing Officer. He founded the Hampton Inn brand. He has been a Director of TBC Corp. and Equity Inns Inc. and a Member of the Advisory Board at North Central Group. He served as a Director of Choice Hotels International Inc., and Chairman and CEO of Promus Hotel Corporation.

Presently, he participates in the industry through Schultz Hospitality LP a hotel investment firm. 

Ray and his wife Erin are proud of their support of Penn State, including among other gifts, endowed scholarships for students from eastern PA coal region, and the first endowed Dean's position at Penn State, which is held by Ann C. Crouter, the Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development.

Ray Schultz said, “It’s an honor and a privilege to receive this recognition from an institution that means so much to me – and so much to the future of our industry. Since I graduated from Penn State in 1955, not a day has gone by in which I have not implemented the skills, lessons and perspectives I gained here. I look forward to a wonderful event and celebration, as we point the School of Hospitality Management toward its next generation of service and a hundred year commemoration.”

About PSHRS

The Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society (PSHRS) was founded to strengthen all hospitality professions and enhance the reputation of the Hospitality Management program (HM). PSHRS is an Affiliate Program Group of the Penn State Alumni Association and the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society. PSHRS provides a means for achieving closer fellowship among alumni, faculty, and students. PSHRS serves those who are currently attending Penn State in HM or who are graduates of the program, as well as those who work within the HM industries and have attended Penn State or are "friends" of the program.

Contact: Michael Frenkel

michael@mfcpr.com / (201) 317-7035

About the School

The Penn State School of Hospitality Management is home to the third-oldest hospitality management program in the United States. From its humble beginnings in 1937, the program has grown to the point where it is now recognized as one of the most respected and distinguished hospitality management programs in the nation.  By combining a broad educational foundation with specific courses designed to build strong leadership, business, and communications skills- and by requiring undergraduate students to accumulate 1,000 hours of “real-world” experience to graduate-students gain the theoretical, managerial, quantitative, organizational, and technical skills they need to become the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry. The students’ relationships with faculty members (many with extensive industry experience) and alumni (many serving as top executives in their chosen professions) serve to bolster this learning experience.

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