A group of very impressive Cornell students toured the Statler over weekend to get back to the roots of their school. The students came from the School of Hotel Administration, which Ellsworth Statler was heavily involved in during his final years. Statler originally believed that the hospitality profession did not require formal training in an institutional setting. Instead, people should have to rise through the ranks just as he did to become successful.
His mindset completely changed after he attended the 2nd Annual Conference at Cornell. Statler spoke as the Guest of Honor at the conference and simply stated, "I'm converted. Meek can have any damn thing he wants." Howard Meek was the dean of the school at that time and was probably ecstatic to hear someone like E.M. Statler essentially say he would write him a blank check.
The Hotel Ezra Cornell conference is currently in its 87th year and put on entirely by students in the Hotel Administration program. The goal of the conference is for students to showcase their skills and new innovations in the industry for top leaders in the hospitality world. Although Statler died shortly after his introduction to the school, his wife, Alice carried on with his legacy to help support the school.
Mark Croce and Robert Knoer gave the students a brief introduction to the Hotel Statler followed by a walk over to the Curtiss Building and the C.W. Miller Livery on Huron and Franklin. Both buildings are listed on the National Register and Croce has some big plans currently in the works for the pair. Following our short downtown tour, we went up to the roof and took in the incredible view. I was lucky enough to get on the roof earlier in the day and got some fantastic photos, which can be seen here. Additional photos of the students on their walkthrough of the building and downtown can also be seen here.
Students introduced themselves during breakfast and each was more impressive than the last. One student was pursuing his degree so he could go on to study and become a French wine scholar. Another student was on scholarship granted to her by the King of Thailand. Introductions continued in this fashion until getting to a junior in the program who is playing a crucial role in organizing the upcoming 88th conference.
Chad Wemischner is managing director for the conference and explained, "The real purpose of coming to the Hotel Statler is to expose students to this historic Buffalo landmark." The students were only in Buffalo for about a day, but seemed to be rather impressed with what the Queen City had to offer. It was great to see people with this level of professionalism and experience taking in Buffalo and liking what they saw.