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2010 Hospitality Innovator Award

Cornell to honor Solomon Kerzner as Hospitality Innovator of the Year

Hotel and gaming entrepreneur Solomon Kerzner has been named winner of the 2010 Hospitality Innovator Award, given annually by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. Kerzner, founder, chairman, and CEO of Kerzner International Holdings Limited, will receive the honor at the school’s annual awards dinner to be held Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

"Cornell is delighted to recognize Sol Kerzner for his extraordinary contributions to the global hospitality industry," said Tom Ward ’81, managing director of the Pillsbury Institute. "Sol’s enterprising spirit and boundless imagination are evident in the spectacular properties that he and his team have created in markets around the world. From urban settings to remote islands, Sol has put a uniquely distinctive imprint on our industry."

Kerzner was born in Troyeville, Johannesburg, to Jewish Russian immigrants. After graduating from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg as a chartered accountant, Kerzner joined one of Durban’s largest accounting firms. His career in hospitality began two years later with the purchase of the Palace Hotel in Durban. Kerzner went on to build the most successful hotel empire in South Africa, Sun International, best known for its Sun City and Lost City resorts.

Later Kerzner formed Kerzner International, which became a leading developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos, and luxury hotels around the globe. Building a reputation as a trailblazing innovator who thrives on the new and different, Kerzner developed distinctive properties such as Atlantis, Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas; the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut; Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai; and his most recent property, the Mazagan Beach Resort, opened last October in Morocco.

Among his many honors, Kerzner received the 2009 HSMAI Albert E. Koehl Lifetime Achievement Award for significant contributions to advertising and marketing in the hospitality industry. He was named Hotelier of the World by Hotels magazine in 2005 and was the first non-American to be inducted into the U.S. Gaming Hall of Fame. Kerzner also received a lifetime achievement award from FEDHASA, South Africa’s major tourism agency.

Cornell will also honor entrepreneur and philanthropist Charles Feeney with its Cornell Icon of the Industry Award at the June dinner. Feeney founded Duty Free Shoppers and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

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