Cecil B. Day Ethics Award

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Each year, the Dedman College of Hospitality confers the Cecil B. Day Ethics Award upon a highly successful hospitality industry leader, who is recognized for ethical leadership.

Cecil B. Day was known for his unshakeable commitment to faith-based values. To him, that meant treating everyone - from the modest employee to the shrewdest banker - with dignity and respect. In 1970, Day opened the first Days Inn with the goal of providing travelers with clean, comfortable, moderately priced rooms and restaurants. By the time he passed away eight years later, he owned more than 300 Days Inns in the U.S. and Canada. His family sold the company for $639 million.

In 2007, Clint Day, Cecil’s son and a 1982 Florida State graduate, established the Cecil B. Day Ethics Award in partnership with the Cecil B. Day family and Florida State University in cooperation with the National Restaurant Association.

2023 Cecil B. Day Ethics Award Recipient
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Frank J. Del Rio

President & CEO
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Frank J. Del Rio is the president and chief executive officer of S&P 500 company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH), which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Del Rio assumed this role in January 2015. An over 25-year cruise industry veteran, Del Rio has successfully led Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in delivering industry leading financial results while providing an unparalleled guest experience.

Under his leadership, the company has expanded its fleet with the newest and most innovative ships at sea, introduced the company's latest island destination, Harvest Caye in Belize, and significantly strengthened its global footprint. Previously, Del Rio served as chairman and chief executive officer of Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc., the parent company operating both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Del Rio founded Oceania Cruises in 2002, and in doing so, created a new "upper premium" market space in the cruise industry. Under his leadership the line has grown from a fledgling start-up with one 684-passenger ship to a dominant player in the upscale cruise market with six ships totaling 5,300 berths, including the addition of two highly acclaimed 1,250-passenger sister ships, Marina and Riviera. In 2008, Prestige Cruise Holdings acquired Regent Seven Seas Cruises and quickly completed a turnaround which positioned Regent Seven Seas Cruises as the market leader in luxury cruising and in turn positioned Prestige Cruise Holdings as the premier operator of upscale cruise brands.

Del Rio, who was born in Havana, Cuba and emigrated to the United States in 1961 at age six, earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Florida and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Past Recipients
Year Recipient Company
2022 Ralph Brennan Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
2021 José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup / World Central Kitchen
2020 Charles 'Chuck' Drury, Jr. Drury Hotels
2019 Christopher Nassetta Hilton
2018 Sheila C. Johnson Salamander Hotels & Resorts
2017 Dan T. Cathy Chick-fil-A
2016 Cheryl Bachelder Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
2015 Robert B. Rowling TRT Holdings, Inc.
2014 Joel Manby Herschend Family Entertainment
2013 Eric Affeldt ClubCorp
2012 J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr. Marriott International Inc.
2011 Richard Rivera Real Mex Restaurants Inc.
2010 Michael Kaufman National Restaurant Association
2009 Horst Schulze Capella Hotel Group
2008 Craig Miller Sonic Drive-In
2007 Truett Cathy Chick-fil-A