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Bob Alter, Chairman of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Recipient
of the 2008 Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award

Ithaca, NY, April 29, 2008 – Entrepreneur Bob Alter ’73 has been named recipient of the 2008 Cornell Hospitality Innovator Award, sponsored by The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. The award will be presented on Sunday, June 1 at the Cornell reception held at the New York Yacht Club during the 30th Anniversary NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. The award honors entrepreneurs who have created and built distinctly successful ventures in the hospitality field.

“The Cornell School of Hotel Administration is delighted to recognize Bob Alter for his innovative thinking and his ability to build and run thriving enterprises,” said Tom Ward ’81, managing director of the Pillsbury Institute. “Bob is an extraordinarily successful entrepreneur and a great inspiration to our alumni and students, many of whom harbor entrepreneurial ambitions themselves.”

As chairman of Sunstone Hotel Investors, a Southern California-based lodging Real Estate Investment Trust, Alter oversees 46 primarily upper-upscale properties operated under nationally recognized brands such as Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental, Hyatt, Starwood and Fairmont. Sunstone was formed in 1985 and was originally taken public in 1995. It was taken private in 1999 in a management buy-out in partnership with Westbrook Partners. In 2004, the company was taken public again in a $400 million IPO that was the largest public offering in lodging industry history.

Under Alter’s leadership, Sunstone increased its total enterprise value from $75 million in 1995 to $3.2 billion today, and increased sales from $30 million to over $1 billion in 2007. From October 2004 through 2007, Alter has presided over $1.9 billion in acquisitions of 17 hotels in the top ten U.S. markets, with an average of 462 rooms per hotel. Among those properties are the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Marriott Boston Long Wharf, Hilton Times Square, DC Renaissance and Fairmont Newport Beach.

Alter is a 1973 graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.

About The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
The institute advances the study and practice of entrepreneurship in the hospitality industry. Through our network of faculty, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs, we give students the knowledge and skills they need to successfully pursue entrepreneurial endeavors. To learn more about the institute, visit:, or contact Tom Ward, managing director, Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at 607.255.1217 or via email at


Cydney Peters

Also See: Bob Alter Built Sunstone, Now Thinks Luxury / Sandi Cain / March 2006


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