Michael Leven to Receive Hotelier Of The Year Award April 21
By Lori Wright, Media Relations
April 11, 2007
UNH will honor Michael Leven, founder and former chairman of Atlanta-based
US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS), for his outstanding achievements in
and contributions to the hospitality management industry by awarding him
the university’s Hotelier of the Year Award Saturday, April 21.
The UNH Hotelier of the Year Award recognizes outstanding contributions
of a leader in the hospitality management industry. It also is the highlight
of the Gourmet Dinner, a seven-course meal organized by students at the
nation’s second-oldest hospitality management program at WSBE. The
evening, which will feature cuisine from Northern Italy, begins at 6 p.m.
with a cocktail hour, and dinner starting at 7 p.m. in the Great Room of
Huddleston Hall. The dinner also will be served Friday, April 20.
Leven, 69, has taught hospitality courses at UNH and recently retired
after spending his entire 45-year career in the hotel industry.
"A role model in the hospitality industry, Mike Leven is one of the
most innovative leaders in franchising. His contributions to the hotel
industry are surpassed only by his commitment to helping those who are
less fortunate," said interim president J. Bonnie Newman.
In June 2006, Leven became vice chairman of the Atlanta-based Marcus Foundation,
where he has been a trustee since 2001. The Marcus Foundation is chaired
by Bernie Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot and one of America's most generous
philanthropists. Leven is also on the board of the Marcus Institute and
the recently opened Georgia Aquarium. He continued to serve as chairman
of USFS through December 2006.
Prior to forming USFS in 1995, which franchises the Microtel Inns & Suites
and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands, Leven was president and chief operating
officer of Holiday Inn Worldwide. From 1985 to 1990, he was president of
Days Inn of America, where he not only spearheaded the growth of the brand,
but also led initiatives to hire older workers, people with disabilities,
and the homeless. He also served as president of Americana Hotels, and
co-founded the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) with 12
members in 1989.
Under Leven's tenure, USFS gained national recognition as a fair franchisor,
both customer and franchisee-oriented. The company was named best practice
champion for its franchise agreement by the American Hotel Foundation and
was the first hotel company to receive the Fair Franchising Seal from the
American Association of Franchisees and Dealers.
Leven has served numerous industry organizations throughout his career.
He is former international president of the Hotel Sales & Marketing
Association International (HSMAI) and a member of HSMAI's Hall of Fame.
He chaired the Millennium Occupancy & Revenue Effort (MORE) task force
of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), and the AH&LA
Government Affairs Committee. He has been on the board of Starwood Hotels,
and is currently on the boards of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. (The Venetian)
and Hersha Hospitality Trust.
In addition to the Marcus Foundation, Leven is active in many civic organizations.
He was a member of the National Board of Governors of the American Red
Cross, its Executive Committee, and Chairman of its Biomedical Services
Leven's most recent hospitality industry recognitions include: American
Association of Franchisees and Dealers, Total Quality Franchising Lifetime
Achievement Award (2005); Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor, University
of Houston C.N. Hilton Hotel & College (2004); First occupant, William
R. Tiefel Distinguished Speakers Chair for the Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales
University (2004), and HSMAI Hot List of 25 Most Extraordinary Sales & Marketing
Minds in Hospitality & Travel (2004).
Tickets for the Gourmet Dinner are $50 a person and 10-seat sponsor tables
are $5,000. Tickets are on sale now and may be ordered at the MUB Ticket
Office ticket office Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2-2290.
To purchase a sponsor table, contact Donna Stickney at 2-3303 or Donna.Stickney@unh.edu.