Harris Rosen ’61 is the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2011, the University announced Wednesday. Rosen is president and chief operating officer of Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Inc., an Orlando-based hospitality firm.
After graduating from the Hotel School, Rosen served as a first lieutenant in South Korea and Germany with the U.S. Army. Beginning his hospitality career as a file clerk at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, he eventually landed a job at the Disney Company as director of hotel planning. While at Disney, he oversaw a number of initiatives at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., including the golf resort and the Polynesian Village Hotel.
Rosen purchased a bankrupt Quality Inn shortly after leaving Disney in 1973 and eventually built the hotel back up to be the largest Quality Inn in the nation. His renovation of the Quality Inn would be the first in a career of hotel acquisitions. Notable developments included a 640-room Comfort Inn in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and his 2006 opening of the 1,500 room AAA Four Diamond Rosen Shingle Creek convention property in Orlando.
Rosen is also known for his philanthropic work. He created the Tangelo Park Pilot program in the 1990s, which fosters mentoring, tutorial and after-school programs for the disadvantaged youth of the Tangelo Park neighborhood in central Florida, as well as paying for the college education of any Tangelo Park student who attends public college in-state. In 2004, Rosen donated 20 acres of land and additional funds for the construction of the University of Central Florida’s College of Hospitality Management.
Orlando Magazine voted Rosen the citizen making the “Best Contribution to Orlando,” and he received the Sustainable Florida’s Legacy Award in 2010 for contributions to environmental causes. Rosen is also a member of the Cornell Society of Hotelmen.
The Entrepreneur of the Year award is given annually to the Cornell alumnus “who best exemplifies entrepreneurial achievement, community service and high ethical standards,” according to a press statement released by the University. Rosen will accept the award at the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration Weekend on April 14.
Original Author: Brendan Doyle