Abdul Suleman Awarded 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor

June 19, 2014

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) has awarded the 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor to global hotelier Abdul M. Suleman, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Equinox Hospitality Group and former senior vice president of Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Suleman received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a gala event held in the Great Hall on Ellis Island. The award pays homage to the immigrant experience, honoring not only individuals, but the pluralism and democracy that have enabled ancestry groups to maintain their identities while becoming integral parts of the American way of life. The medals are awarded to native-born and naturalized U.S. citizens from various ethnic backgrounds.

Past medalists include U.S. presidents, Noble Prize winners, and leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government, including Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush, United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Bob Hope, and Lee Iacocca. Suleman is the only hotelier honored this year.

Suleman migrated to the U.S. to attend Brigham Young University in the late 1960s. He entered the hotel industry more than 30 years ago, starting from a front desk position and rising through the ranks of Hyatt Hotels Corporation to senior vice president. In 1994 he left Hyatt and founded Equinox Hospitality.

The hotelier is a recipient of the Spirit of Life award by the City of Hope and has a long history of raising funds for the underprivileged, as well as colleges and universities. He has worked with the homeless to provide training and education. He has been active in enhancing his hometown as a board member of San Francisco Beautiful, a non-profit organization that adds public landscaping, colorful murals, restores historic landmarks and rebuilds parks and playgrounds. Suleman also created a program to renovate and restore the Children’s Carousel in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

He is a current or former member of the Board of Directors for California Hotel and Motel Association; the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau; Golden State University Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management Program; YMCA; American Liver Foundation; United Way; Boy’s Club and Junior Achievement.