Contact: Lauren Dyke
Stephen A. Wynn Named 2009 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts to be Inducted in April in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, February 2, 2009 – The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is pleased to announce that Stephen A. Wynn will be presented with the 2009 Horatio Alger Award and inducted as a lifetime member of the association for his determination in achieving success despite his humble upbringing.
Wynn, chairman and chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada, will be officially inducted into the prestigious association on April 3rd in Washington, D.C. Recipients must have overcome humble beginnings or adversity to achieve success and serve as outstanding role models to the national community.
“We welcome these extraordinary leaders into the Horatio Alger Association. Each has demonstrated steadfast determination and amazing achievements that support our unwavering mission of honoring true American success stories,” said David L. Sokol, president and CEO of the Horatio Alger Association. “Stephen will serve as a role model for today’s youth by encouraging motivation, purpose and superior accomplishments.”
Wynn was born in 1942 in New Haven, Connecticut. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Wynn moved to Las Vegas where he worked as a slot department manager in the newly constructed Frontier Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. Within five months of opening, the hotel was purchased by Howard Hughes. Wynn followed with the acquisition of a wholesale liquor and wine distributorship statewide in Nevada and operated that business as owner from 1968 until 1972. After owning and operating this business, he once again crossed paths with Howard Hughes and purchased a strategic corner parcel from him next to Caesar’s Palace on The Strip. Ten months after acquiring the land, Wynn sold it for $2.25 million and used the profits to buy controlling interest in the Golden Nugget, the small casino on Freemont Street, which had no hotel rooms.
In 1973, Wynn became chairman and CEO of Golden Nugget, Inc., which later became known as Mirage Resorts, and began his nearly 40 year career as a designer and operator of destination resorts and casinos from the Atlantic coast in New Jersey to the South coast in Mississippi to China and, of course, Las Vegas.
Wynn’s next property in Las Vegas, The Mirage, opened at the end of 1989 at a building cost of $630 million. It quickly became the largest and most successful casino/hotel in the history of Las Vegas. His intent to make The Mirage a cross between a tropical Hawaiian oasis and a family-oriented Disneyland in the desert made him responsible for a dramatic resurgence and expansion of the city of Las Vegas. Wynn further developed his luxury casino concept with the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino and the Bellagio. In 2000, Mirage Resorts Incorporated was sold to MGM Grand for $6.6 billion. Wynn then built Wynn Las Vegas, a $2.7 billion property, which opened in 2005. He followed that with Wynn Macau in China, which opened in 2006, and with Encore, his new signature resort in Las Vegas, which opened in 2008.
In May 2006 Time Magazine recognized him as one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People,” and he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania’s 250th Commencement Ceremony in recognition of his transformative vision of Las Vegas.
In October 2006 President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Wynn to serve on the Board of Trustees for the world-renowned John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and in November 2006 he was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) Hall of Fame. Mr. Wynn is a member of the International Advisory Council for the Moran Eye Center and has received honorary doctoral degrees from his alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Sierra College; The Culinary Institute of America; and Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.
In addition to Wynn’s award, ten other outstanding individuals who have accomplished remarkable achievements through hard work self-reliance and perseverance will receive the 2009 Horatio Alger Award. They are:
- James S.C. Chao, chairman, Foremost Group
- David Foster, producer, composer and arranger, Reprise Records & 143 Records
- Clayton Paul Hilliard, president and owner, Badger Oil Corporation
- Rebecca MacDonald, founder and executive chair, Energy Savings Income Fund (international recipient)
- Michael G. Morris, chairman, president & CEO, American Electric Power
- Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo Inc.
- Carl H. Ricker, Jr., founder, chairman and CEO, Azalea Holdings; partner, Campus Crest Communities; chairman, executive committiee, Capital Bank Corp; co-founder and chairman, MXT Card Services, LLC
- Thomas Joseph Shannon, Jr., founder, T-Bird founder, T-Bird Restaurant Group, Inc. and Village Development Co.
- Denzel Washington, Academy Award winning actor and director
- Robert L. Wright, Jr., chairman, FE Holdings, Inc.
The new members will be presented with their awards April 3rd at the Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies. Activities include three days of meetings and celebrations in some of the nation’s most historic buildings. The Horatio Alger National Scholars, remarkable high school seniors, will also be formally honored during the three-day gathering.
A complete list of all of the Horatio Alger Members can be found at http://www.horatioalger.com/members.cfm.
About The Horatio Alger Association
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program and state scholarship programs, and graduate grants. The association awards nearly $7 million annually in college scholarships and has given more than $63 million to deserving students since 1984. The association is a 2008 Combined Federal Campaign participant, ID# 77062. For more information, please visit http://www.horatioalger.org/.