NEW YORK — It seemed only fitting to celebrate the accomplishments of a hotel industry giant at The Plaza Hotel, one of New York's premier hotels. The fifth annual New York University Preston Robert Tisch Distinguished Industry Leadership Dinner featured a who's-who list of hotel industry leaders as representatives from major hotel companies gathered to honor Laurence S. Geller, CEO of Chicago-based Strategic Hotel Capital.

In his acceptance speech, Geller said the biggest issue facing the hospitality and tourism industry is the labor shortage. Geller emphasized that it's time to stop just talking about the problem and focus on finding a solution. He also spoke about how much the hotel industry means to him. “I've been passionate about this industry since I was 12, and I'm still passionate about it,” he said.

During the dinner, Geller announced the Laurence S. Geller Scholarship in Hotel Development, which will fund an academic year of study for a junior-year student each year for the next four years in the Tisch Center's hotel and tourism management program.