Steve Wynn Named 2017 Cornell Icon of the Industry

ITHACA, N.Y. March 20, 2017 - The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA) has selected Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Limited, to receive the 2017 Cornell Icon of the Industry Award. This award recognizes Wynn for his contributions to the gaming and hospitality industries as well his legacy of philanthropy.

The award will be presented at the 9th annual Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Awards, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at The Pierre Hotel in New York City.

“Mr. Wynn reinvigorated the Las Vegas tourism scene through exceptional customer service to offer an unparalleled guest experience,” said Kate Walsh, SHA’s interim dean and E. M. Statler Professor. “He has created some of the world’s most luxurious hotels.”

Wynn has led casino and resort development in Las Vegas and beyond for more than 45 years. Best known for his key role in the revitalization of the Las Vegas Strip in the 1990s, Wynn is the entrepreneurial figure behind many of the city’s most distinctive resorts, including Bellagio, Mirage, Treasure Island and Wynn Las Vegas. In 2014, Harvard Business Review ranked Wynn 17th out of the world’s 100 best-performing CEOs.

Wynn got his start in the casino industry in 1963 when he took over his family’s bingo parlors in Maryland. After moving to Las Vegas, in 1971 Wynn transformed the landmark Golden Nugget Casino into a AAA Four-Diamond resort known for elegance and personal service. By 1973, at the age of 31, Wynn built the 506-room Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. It quickly became known for its elegant facilities and impressive lineup of superstar entertainment.

Opening in 1989, the Mirage was Wynn’s first major resort on the Strip, followed by Treasure Island in 1993 and the Bellagio in 1998, which at the time was the most expensive hotel in the world. In 1999, Wynn developed the Beau Rivage resort in Biloxi, Miss.

Since becoming a publicly traded company in 2002, Wynn Resorts Limited has launched a number of new resorts in Las Vegas as well as landmark developments in Macau. His most recent project is Wynn Boston Harbor, a resort currently under construction near Boston, slated to open in 2019.

In addition to his work in hospitality, Wynn is known for his fine art collection and his philanthropic commitment to supporting the communities in which he has built his resorts and casinos.

Since its inception in 2009, the Cornell Hospitality Icon and Innovator Awards has grown to be the largest event on the Hotel School’s calendar, attracting each year more than 600 of the most influential leaders in the hospitality and travel industry. The event fundraises for the school’s Annual Fund that provides critical need-based scholarships to its students.

To date, the following companies have pledged their support for this event: Premier Media Supporter, USA Today; Platinum supporters Access Point Financial, Cornell Hotel Society, Flag Luxury, Hersha Hospitality Trust, Hilton Worldwide, JLL, The Leading Hotels of the World, Marriott International, PwC, Questex Hospitality Group, Stonebridge Companies, and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces; and Gold supporters Eastdil Secured,, Nobu, and Wyndham Hotel Group.

For details about the 9th Annual Cornell Icon and Innovator Awards or opportunities for corporate support, visit or contact Jennifer Macera at or 607.255.3101.

About the School of Hotel Administration

The School of Hotel Administration at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business is shaping the global knowledge base for hospitality management through leadership in education, research, and industry advancement. Accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the school provides management instruction in the full range of hospitality disciplines, educating the next generation of leaders in the world's largest industry. Founded in 1922 as the nation's first collegiate course of study in hospitality management, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration is recognized as the world leader in its field.


Sarah Magnus-Sharpe


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