BU School of Hospitality Administration to Bestow ICON Award to Padma Lakshmi at the Hospitality Leadership Summit 2024

(February 27, 2024) Boston, MA Boston University School of Hospitality Administration (BU SHA) is proud to announce that the fourth annual ICON award will be presented to Padma Lakshmi, an Emmy-nominated producer, television host, food expert, and a New York Times best-selling author, as well as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (2023).  

BU School of Hospitality Administration presents the ICON award annually to recognize innovators who create new and transformative paradigms in hospitality. The ICON award ceremony and reception will conclude the School’s marquee event, the Hospitality Leadership Summit on Thursday, April 4, 2024 at Boston University’s Computing and Data Sciences Center, Boston’s largest fossil fuel-free building. The Summit brings together students, faculty, and industry colleagues for a day of inspiration and networking around a shared passion for creating memorable experiences.

For the Summit speaker line-up and to register, visit: www.bu.edu/hospitality/events/summit/ 

“I am honored to be recognized by Boston University School of Hospitality Administration and to support the school’s mission to make the world a more hospitable place for all,” said Padma Lakshmi. “Fostering leaders who are committed to creating memorable, joyful experiences that connect people is important to both society and humanity.” 

“We are proud to recognize Padma Lakshmi with the prestigious ICON Award,” states Arun Upneja, Ph.D., Dean of Boston University School of Hospitality Administration. “Through her many impressive achievements, she epitomizes hospitality in the truest sense of the definition: ‘welcoming the stranger.’ Her advocacy for immigrant and women’s rights are a testament to her unwavering championing of inclusiveness, equality, and justice.” 

Padma Lakshmi is the creator of the critically acclaimed and Emmy-nominated Hulu series “Taste the Nation,” which is the recipient of a James Beard Foundation Award top prize in Visual Media – Long Form. Lakshmi served as host and executive producer for 19 seasons of Bravo’s two-time Emmy-winning series “Top Chef,” which has been nominated for 47 Emmys, including her five-time nomination for Outstanding Host for a Reality-Competition Program. 

  • Read Padma Lakshmi’s full bio here. 

Padma Lakshmi will accept the award to conclude the school’s 2024 Hospitality Leadership Summit which features inspirational leaders sharing their vision for the future of the business.  


BU School of Hospitality ICON Awardees
Past awardees include Niki Leondakis, CEO of CorePower Yoga: the co-founders of Airbnb Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia; restaurant pioneer Danny Meyer, Founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and Shake Shack; and in 2020, Richard L. Friedman, President and CEO of Carpenter & Company Inc., credited, among a long list of accolades, for reshaping the Boston skyline with The Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences at One Dalton. For a list of ICON awardees, visit: ICON Award Winners. 

For more information on the Summit Speakers and Agenda, visit the Summit website. 

Photos and interviews are available upon request.  


2024 Hospitality Leadership Summit Sponsors*  

BU School of Hospitality Administration is grateful for the generous support from:  

  • Platinum Level: Hotel Commonwealth and Aramark  
  • Gold Level: Meet Boston, PEAK Event Services, Seaport Hotel, Sonesta Hotels and Resorts   
  • Supporters: Entertainment Specialists, GoTab, and Intercontinental Boston 

*Sponsor List is current as of 2/27/24 


About Boston University School of Hospitality Administration: Established in 1981 and now celebrating 40 years of Innovating the Business of Hospitality, Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration (SHA) offers students a combination of rigorous academics, liberal arts curriculum, and international experiences for the pursuit of success in lodging, restaurants, food service, and other avenues of the hospitality industry. SHA has a unique relationship with the city of Boston, where the area’s hotels and restaurants provide students with numerous opportunities for internships to satisfy work experience requirements for their degrees.  

Information on graduate and undergraduate degrees at BU School of Hospitality Administration: www.bu.edu/hospitality/academics