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Thomas Ward Named Director of Cornell’s Leland and Mary Pillsbury
Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship

Ithaca, NY, January 29, 2008 – Entrepreneur Thomas L. Ward has been named director of The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, effective February 1, 2008. Ward reports to Michael Johnson, dean of the school and E.M. Statler Professor.

Ward will oversee an institute that helps students develop the knowledge and skills required to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors in the hospitality industry. He will provide strategic and operational leadership and direct the institute’s business development, programs and symposia. Ward will drive a range of initiatives that facilitate student learning, knowledge sharing, and industry outreach in hospitality entrepreneurship.

“Tom Ward brings a unique blend of entrepreneurial, corporate, military, and university leadership experience. He’s led a number of successful companies and has served as an executive-in-residence at a leading university,” said Dean Johnson. “Under Tom’s direction, we are confident that our school will continue to build the institute into a global leader in entrepreneurship education in the hospitality field.”

A native Ithacan, Ward is a 1981 graduate with distinction of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and a 1990 graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He spent five years in the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer, served as mergers and acquisitions director at BTG, Inc., launched several companies, was chief operating officer for Wilmington Finance Inc., and has worked as a consultant to Fannie Mae.

“I am very pleased to be joining the world’s preeminent hospitality management education program,” said Ward. “Over the last century entrepreneurs have powered the global growth of our industry, with much of that growth coming through the enterprising work of Cornell alumni. I look forward to working with our faculty, our alumni and other successful hospitality entrepreneurs to expand our current programs and become a truly distinctive international leader in the field.”

The institute was formally named in fall 2006 with a gift from Leland “Lee” Pillsbury ’69 and his wife, Mary. The $15 million gift to the Cornell School of Hotel Administration was the largest single gift ever made to the school and one of the largest ever in hospitality education.

About the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration 

The institute supports and enables innovation and new business formation in the hospitality industry. Through our faculty and industry partners, the institute provides students with guidance on entrepreneurship study, introduces students to hospitality entrepreneurs, and encourages students to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. The Institute is also a platform for knowledge about forming new hospitality businesses, managing small and family-run businesses, franchising, corporate venturing, new venture funding, and innovation. 


Thomas Ward at 607.255.1217

Also See: Leland Pillsbury, Co-Founder of Thayer Lodging Group, Donates $15 million to the Cornell Hotel School; Largest Single Gift Ever Made to the School / November 2006


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