Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society to honor Leland Pillsbury, Ray Schultz

February 13,2017


These two hospitality innovators will be honored at a gala reception held at the Nittany Lion Inn on April 20, 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 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.


“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," Donna Quadri-Felitti, Marvin Ashner director of the School of Hospitality Management, said in a statement. "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 leadership for a global and dynamic hospitality industry - offering innovative programs, research, service to the profession, alongside world-class faculty, staff and students.


To learn more about the dinner and reserve attendance, please visit More information on the dinner and associated activities will be released shortly.


The Diplomat Hotel & Beach Resort in Hollywood, Fla., is a member of Thayer Lodging's portfolio, a company Pilsbury co-founded.


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.


I am delighted and honored to receive this award from PSHRS, and its diverse, talented community of scholars, teachers and students," Pillsbury said. "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.


Schultz officially entered the hospitality industry through the Holiday Inn brand.

Raymond E. Schultz, also known as Ray, has been the chairman and president of RES Investments since January 1999. Schultz served as the CEO of Promus Hotel Corporation, as the CEO and president of the hotel division of Promus Companies Incorporated and as the CEO 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, where he held leadership positions including VP of information systems, and chief marketing officer. He founded the Hampton Inn brand, and he has been a director of TBC Corp. and Equity Inns, and a member of the advisory board at North Central Group. He served as a Director of Choice Hotels International, and chairman and CEO of Promus Hotel Corporation.


Presently, he participates in the industry through Schultz Hospitality, 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.


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," Schultz said. "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.