Settle for nothing less than giving our best. Master the fundamentals and beyond.
Empower our team to communicate and act without fear. Connect with transparency, dignity and respect. Build trust and confidence.
Seek and share knowledge. Nurture personal and professional growth for all.
Be of service to our guests and each other. Humbly contribute our efforts and talents to our Cornell, local and global communities.
Commit to holding ourselves, and each other, accountable for results.
Ignite our team. Acknowledge contributions. Honor accomplishments. Think big and have fun.
Most Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration alumni are familiar with the story of Statler's dramatic turnaround during the second run of Hotel Ezra Cornell in 1927. The support he pledged would keep the program and school solvent, enable it to grow, and eventually have the building named after him.
Ellsworth Milton (EM) Statler had come up the hard way, working from when he was 13 to become the most powerful man in the business as head of the Hotels Statler Company. He professed to see no value in university training for "hotelmen." Statler was far more concerned about the loss of revenue that the industry had experienced since the Eighteenth Amendment became law in January 1920. He wanted the American Hotel Association to unite behind the repeal of Prohibition.
Hotel Ezra Cornell was born in the fall of 1925 when Jessie Boys, a professor of home economics, pitched the idea to some members of the Class of '26. Boys suggested to the students that they put on a "hotel for a day"—a demonstration of all they had learned about hotel management at Cornell—for industry members in the region. The students set to work, and the first HEC opened to much acclaim on May 7, 1926.
Statler, whose company was based in Buffalo, New York, was invited to the first HEC. He nicely declined the invitation. His personal secretary (and eventually his wife,) Alice Seidler, wrote the note saying, "Mr. Statler did want you to be assured that he was working with other hotel men to provide better things for the Cornell hotel boys," That year, he contributed $4,200 through the American Hotel Association's fundraising campaign to help the program.
The following year Statler hesitated a long while before agreeing to make the trip to meet "Prof" Meek, the program's head and, much later, the school's first dean. During HEC, Statler was accompanied throughout the day by head waiter Victor Grohmann '28, who took him to classes and on a campus tour. By the end of the day, when asked to say a few words at the evening's banquet, stood up and quite unexpectedly capitulated. "I'm converted. Meek can have any damn thing he wants!" is the most often repeated version of the few words he said. This offer would ensure the school's success moving forward, but sadly Statler passed away only 11 months after he uttered those words and never saw the results of his generosity.
THE VISION OF A TEACHING HOTEL
The idea of a "teaching hotel" had always appealed to hospitality leaders, who highly valued real-world learning to complement classroom education. In 1923, the American Hotel Association proposed a 200-room hotel be built adjacent to the campus to serve as a "practice hotel" for Cornell's newly established hotel program. Unfortunately, due to WWII and the Great Depression, that vision did not materialize.
Alice Statler finally made her first trip to campus in 1941 for HEC. Eight years later, in her remarks during the cornerstone-laying ceremony for Statler Hall, she recalled her 1941 impression of the program as "a poor relative of the campus." Once she met the students and the faculty and saw the program and its challenging circumstances, she and her fellow trustees decided that "a building to house this school
would be the best way to carry out [her husband's] wishes." Alice Statler was also was converted, and her late husband could finally give Meek "any damn thing he wants."
In 1950 a scaled-down Statler Inn with 36 guest room hotel was completed in conjunction with Statler Hall, which was to serve as the home for Cornell's newly-named School of Hotel Administration. The Inn provided students with a convenient opportunity to gain practical experience in restaurant management, food preparation, and innkeeping. Ellsworth Statler's wife, Alice, honored his promise alive based on the request made through his will.
Despite its small size, the 36-room Statler Inn did not lack in amenities. It featured three restaurants—the Main Dining Room, Cafe Rhea, and the Rathskeller as well as a ballroom, several banquet rooms, and the university's faculty club.
TODAY'S STATLER HOTEL
In March of 1989, The Statler Hotel opened its doors and launched a new hospitality education and industry leadership era at Cornell University. Like its predecessor, the Statler Inn—"the jewel box," as the newly transformed hotel was fondly dubbed by managing director Hans P. Weishaupt '64—quickly gained international renown as one of the world's best "teaching hotels" and a living laboratory for hospitality innovation. Today the Statler Hotel is the area's finest hotel. The 153-room full-service luxury hotel is Ithaca's only AAA Four Diamond property. Now, under the Leadership of Arthur Keith, General Manager and Executive Director, it is now "The Premier Hotel that Teaches."
As a graduate of Cornell's Nolan School of Hotel Administration, Arthur has had an amazing career in hotel operations and as a consultant providing luxury hospitality training, executive coaching, and consulting services to hospitality and entertainment companies.
Before joining The Statler Hotel at Cornell University, Arthur was the General Manager and VP of Operations at some major "big box" properties such as Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Mount Pocono Pennsylvania, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino as well as Venetian Resort and Casino that are both located in Las Vegas.
Originally from Elmira, NY, Arthur's passion has always been teaching leadership and seeing others create and do things they did not think they could do. He is inspired by working as a team and seeing others grow. Arthur's father taught him that all things are possible and to always be kind to everyone. Based on this guidance given to him by his father, he now offers the same words of wisdom to Hotellies: "Do not let others limit what you think is possible." Arthur's guiding principle are "Think Big, Act Small, Fail Fast and Teach," which have suited him very well and allowed him to achieve his goal of being the General Manager of a world-class hotel - not once but multiple times.
When asked what Arthur was most grateful for, he responded, "My family, my health and having a career that doesn't feel like a job." Arthur enjoys spending time with his wife Lorna, and he has two daughters, Kara- 30 and Alijandra-32. There is never a dull moment in his life, whether wearing a Tigger Costume for kid's photo ops at his first job at Sears or wearing a Captain America costume more recently for an event. Arthur is always prepared for a celebration…what will be next?
Statler Value that Resonates: CELEBRATE: We are in the entertainment business. People come to our hotel and restaurants to get away, escape and feel good. So, our energy must be positive, uplifting and fun. Nothing says fun like a good and well-done celebration.
Make the Difference TOGETHER: We are only successful if we work as a team and love one another like family.
Chef Eric leads The Statler Culinary Team, aided by a wealth of experience in the hotel industry and dedication to teaching and learning in the kitchen. His own educational journey began at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, which gave Chef Eric a strong base knowledge of the culinary arts and the discipline needed to lead robust teams.
Throughout his career, Chef Eric has had dynamic and rich experiences, touching nearly every aspect of the culinary industry. The only industry Chef Eric has not touched is working on a cruise ship! Though he would say serving for 4 years in the US Navy is close enough. From the hospitality standards of The Ritz Carlton to the resilience achieved after working under unrelenting French chefs, Chef Eric has learned many lessons along the way.
American author Fran Leibowitz once said, "I really think that musicians and cooks are responsible for the most pleasure in life." This has always resonated with Chef Eric because food is instant happiness. You take a bite of something and immediately feel joy. No food brings Chef Eric more "joy" than pizza. He often says, if you see him and he is not eating pizza, he is thinking about where he can get some!
Living in Ithaca for the last ten years, Chef Eric and his wife have sown roots and are in the process of raising two young boys. When Chef Eric is not in the kitchen, you can find him cherishing time with his family!
Justin grew up in northeast Pennsylvania and is a graduate from Penn State's School of Hospitality Management. He began his career working in the food and beverage departments at various resorts in Maine and New Hampshire. Over the years, Justin worked his way up to being the Food Service Director for a school district in Pennsylvania.
Throughout his career Justin learned more about facilities and maintenance by working on commercial kitchen equipment, higher education facilities and the energy sector. This path provided experience with many different types of equipment and systems that is vital when coaching an effective team. Prior to coming to Cornell, Justin was promoted to Senior Coordinator of Maintenance with Williams Energy Company.
Justin first worked with Facilities Central Services at Cornell in the Planning and Scheduling Department as well as developing preventative maintenance programs across campus. Justin joined The Statler Hotel team in January of 2023 where he is the Director of Facilities. Outside of work he spends time with his wife and two daughters and enjoys home renovation projects, fishing, and golfing.
Statler Value that Resonates: Pursue Learning: I have been fortunate to work for entities that not only provide but encourage staff to continue their education. I have committed to taking advantage of those opportunities to make myself a better person and leader. Expanding your knowledge beyond a specific trade or type of facility allows to you be agile in your approach to maintenance.
OWN It: When operating large scale facilities, you must be accountable for when things do not go according to plan. Then, the focus needs to shift to developing processes to prevent future failures.
Marian has been at The Statler Hotel for nearly two years but is no stranger to Cornell and Ithaca. She was born and raised in Ithaca and Cornell is her Alma Mater. Though she spent a lot of time working at the "Statler Inn'" she is a product of the School of Arts and Sciences. Thanks to her experience at the hotel, she decided to get into the hospitality industry and started as a Corporate Trainee with Hyatt Hotel in Chicago. Seventeen career moves later, Marian is back home and is ready to offer her experience to our future Hotellies.
For 40 years, Marian worked as a Director of Sales and Marketing, Catering and Conference Services and a Regional VP of Operations in a variety of hotels and hospitality-related fields. After a successful career helping hotels increase revenues in both rooms and food and beverage, she has also trained and developed sales, operations, and overall service teams. Marian now enjoys taking best practices from Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Fairmont, and independent hotels to help properties grow their business by creating sales and marketing strategies, developing teams, and ensuring optimal service. Most recently, she was involved in the opening of two Hotels in Texas.
Marian enjoys hiking, cooking, entertaining, photography and making jewelry. She is married to Andrew and has two grown boys who have blessed her with two grandchildren each. Her passion is the hospitality business and developing individuals to succeed in this industry, which is why the opportunity to work at "The Premiere Hotel that Teaches" resonated with her. There have been several mentors in Marian's career that have molded her into who she is today, but her true inspiration was her Step-Grandmother, who was a professor at Duke University. "Whenever she would have a conversation with you, she made you feel you were important, and she took a sincere interest in what you had to say." Marian has always tried to emulate that with whomever she speaks.
Her guiding principle is based on one of her favorite quotes: "To Thine own self be true." She is grateful for the adventure she has experienced through all her roles and moves. The word of wisdom she would like to offer future Hotellies as they move throughout their career is "Enjoy a city for what it has to offer. Do not regret what you have left in the past…and remember, Amazon delivers anywhere!
Statler Value that Resonates: Deliver a WOW: Be observant and always be ready to extend that intuitive service and make each and every guests' stay at the hotel a moment to remember, making them want to come back.
Make a Difference Together: Collaboration is key to the success of a team. Be transparent. Be respectful. Be empowered. Trust to be trusted.
Nicole Boosembark, originally from Davis California, attended Cornell University in 1998 as a biology major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. However, after working in the culinary department at The Statler Hotel during her freshman year, she developed a passion for the hospitality industry. As a result, she transferred to the Nolan School of Hotel Administration the following spring. During her time at Cornell, Nicole continued working in the culinary department, taking on more responsibilities and gaining supervisory experience. She also had valuable summer internships, including one at Universal Studios Hollywood. After graduating in 2002, she was hired as the Assistant Manager in Taverna Banfi at The Statler Hotel.
Throughout her career at The Statler Hotel, Nicole has had the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced professionals such as Rick Adie '75 and the late Tim Durnford MPS'93, who acted as wonderful mentors and helped her gain valuable leadership experience. Through the years Nicole has held management and director roles in Meetings & Events, Sales & Catering, Rooms, and Food & Beverage. Currently, Nicole serves as the Director of Planning & Administration, where she handles revenue management and the student human resources aspect of the business. This includes student staffing, planning, recruitment, and retention, as well as overseeing programs like the Hotel Leadership Development Program (HLDP) and Cornell Hospitality Internship Program (CHIP). Nicole enjoys getting to know the 300+ students that work at The Statler Hotel and finds it very rewarding when she can discover a student's interests and strengths to connect them with an alum. She recently became the president of the Cornell Hotel Society (CHS) Finger Lakes chapter, aiming to organize events that bring together alumni in the region while also fostering connections with current Cornell students.
Outside of work, Nicole is a devoted mother to two young boys. She actively participates in their various activities, such as ninja training, baseball, cub scouts, and school events. The family enjoys riding bicycles and Nicole plans to explore the bike trails in the Finger Lakes area with her children. Additionally, she finds joy in cooking, gardening, and hiking. As a transplant from California, she has more appreciation for when the weather is nice and takes advantage of any opportunity to spend time outdoors when the temperature is above 65 degrees.
Statler Value that Resonates: OWN It: I value following through and empowering all team members to make decisions.
As a native of the Ithaca area, Rebecca has always felt a connection to the Cornell University campus. One of her first jobs as a teenager was spending the summer as a counselor for the day camp operated by the university for local children. It was during that time she learned how truly special Cornell is, accompanying the participants as they gained exposure to the many fields of study available.
After spending time in the local hospitality market, Rebecca was thrilled to have the opportunity to join The Statler Hotel team. Starting on the Monday of "Senior Week" provided an immediate glimpse into what makes The Statler Hotel so special. Throughout that first week, she witnessed a stream of graduating students coming into the Front Office to say their goodbyes to the staff members, promising to stay connected as they began their careers in the "real world". It was clear that this was not just an average college job for most; it was a special place in their life story. She knew quickly that The Statler Hotel would be a special place in her own life story.
Over the past twenty years, Rebecca has held several positions within the hotel. Working in an environment where hospitality and learning is the passion of so many, she was encouraged to seek new opportunities and grow as a leader. Joining The Statler team as a Guest Service Agent at the front desk, Rebecca then progressed through leadership roles within the Front Office until taking on her current position as Director of Rooms in 2012. In the ever-changing industry we work in, what has remained consistent over the last two decades is the special connection formed with her student colleagues. Whether it is a text, email or baby announcement, Rebecca loves hearing from the hotel alumni and following their journey as they become the newest leaders in their field.
When she is not at work, Rebecca spends her time with her hilariously boisterous family. Game nights, visiting local breweries (Lucky Hare is their favorite), and hiking are amongst their favorite activities. She and her husband are immensely proud of the wonderful humans their adult children have become and are very excited for their next adventure of becoming grandparents in early 2024!
Statler Value that Resonates: Live a Life of Service: Whether you demonstrate service through hospitality, community action, or taking care of your loved ones, you will bring enrichment to your own life.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Rick took his first job as a 16-year-old dishwasher at a restaurant in Ocean City for a summer. He quickly fell in love with hospitality and decided to make a career of it. By 19, Rick began managing restaurants and ultimately found his way to Cornell University's renowned School of Hotel Administration and graduated in 1986.
After graduation, Rick ran Ithaca's iconic Purity Ice Cream Company before joining the opening management team of Cornell's new Statler Hotel. While working full time as an operations manager in the hotel, Rick pursued his graduate studies in human resources. In 1992, Rick became the Director of Human Resources for The Statler Hotel and remained in this leadership role until 2022. During this period, Rick also served concurrently as Director of Human Resources for the Nolan School of Hotel Administration, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and as a member of the HR team in the SC Johnson College of Business. Over the past year, Rick has transitioned from his HR role to focusing on the training and development within the hotel.
Rick is strongly committed to being a faithful Christian, a devoted, loving husband, and an inspirational father. Rick is celebrating 40 years of marriage to his wife Donna this year. They met while working in a restaurant together at the beach, and still enjoy working together part time at Lynah Rink for the Cornell hockey games. They have four children, Amy, Robert, Matty and Richie, who have all worked at The Statler Hotel.
Rick's current hobbies and interests lay heavily in outdoor sports/activities. Summers are filled with camping at Assateague Island, kayaking, fishing, and playing endless games of beach volleyball. Rick and Donna, his wife, love cycling together, they have circled most of the Finger Lakes, have completed many large-scale "century rides" and have explored many of the rail/trails and the Erie Canal Trails in New York State.
Statler Value that Resonates: LIVE a Life of Service: During my life in Ithaca, I have volunteered on numerous boards and committees as a member or in leadership roles. In addition to my volunteer work with my church, I have spent 20 years coaching over 40 youth teams in baseball, softball and ice hockey, running training clinics and leading fundraising events. I believe in sharing my time, talent and treasure to make a useful contribution to my community.
Thomas Gisler, Director of Food & Beverage
With an incredible amount of international experience, Chef Thomas brings a wealth of knowledge to his role. Originally from Altdorf, Switzerland, Chef attended Hotel School Lucerne, Switzerland and graduated in 1988. His career started in Orlando, then to Japan, South Korea and Germany with Hyatt Hotels and back to the United States in Cooperstown, New York. Through these experiences, Chef has developed excellent training skills and a solid understanding of cost/inventory control. With his passion for Food and Wine, he wanted to get into the glamor of serving guests and work with great individuals and getting to eat and drink "professionally." He loves it when celebrities show up and be able to show off the capabilities of his team. He is grateful for having seen much of the world while working in some of the finest hotels worldwide in amazing cities. These are wonderful memories that have created the exceptional leader that he is today.
Anthony Bourdain was a huge inspiration to Thomas. He had the privilege to cooked dinner with Anthony while on his promotional tour for his best-selling book "Kitchen Confidential" at the Hyatt in Cologne, Germany. Thomas recollects, "Ever since, he has been one of the most inspiring people in my life. A great quote from Anthony "If you're 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel - as far and as widely as possible."
When asked what his most significant achievements are, Chef's response was, "Bringing up three great daughters that I love hanging out with and a beautiful wife that I am still happily married to, after a long career in the Hospitality Industry covering several continents." But those most influential in his life were his parents who taught him his key guiding principles: Honest, genuine, thoughtful, and caring. The advice that he offers to our students is, "No one learns to drive in the back seat. Step up!"
Statler Value that Resonates:
Tim's passion for hospitality began early in college when he worked as a Front Desk Agent at a Best Western and became fascinated by the different stories from each guest he interacted with. Tim quickly learned about the different opportunities within the industry and that gracious hospitality is a vocation for life rather than just a job.
Now 20 years later, he leads the finance team at The Statler Hotel. Tim brings with him an array of leadership experiences ranging from Assistant Director of Finance at a luxury resort in Maine to Director of Finance at a major hotel management company in Upstate New York. Tim has earned his Master of Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Tim is native to upstate New York and enjoys running, hiking, playing the piano, wine-tasting, and good food. Tim may be the "numbers guy" but he truly enjoys diving into the detailed hotel operations alongside his colleagues and students to develop creative solutions and raising the bar of excellence.
Statler Value that Resonates: PURSUE Learning: We must adapt to the changing environment and stay ahead of the curve. Plus, learning is so fun! LIVE a Life of Service: Hospitality is a calling, and it brings excitement when executed well.