Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A receives 2017 Cecil B. Day Ethics Award

Bob Branciforte
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2017 Cecil B. Day Ethics Award. At front, left to right, awardee Dan Cathy, Clint Day and Deen Day-Sanders.
Back row: Robert Brymer, Nathan Line, Horst Schulze, Philip Day, Parke Day, Peyton Day and Austin Day.

The 2017 Cecil B. Day Ethics Award was conferred upon Dan T. Cathy, Chairman and CEO of Chick-fil-A, at the organization’s corporate officer meeting in Atlanta this January. This was the tenth time a hospitality industry leader received the annual award for ethical leadership from the Day family and the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University.

“What was especially gratifying about honoring Dan Cathy on the 10th anniversary of the award was that its first recipient was his father, the late Truett Cathy,” said Robert Brymer, the Cecil B. Day Professor of Lodging Management at the Dedman School of Hospitality.

When S. Truett Cathy received the first Cecil B. Day Ethics Award in 2007, it had just been established in honor of the commitment of the late Days Inn to faith-based values. Day’s son, Clint, a 1982 Florida State graduate, created the award in partnership with the Day family, Florida State University, and in cooperation with the National Restaurant Association.

The award celebrates Day’s treatment of each and every person with dignity and respect. In 1970, he 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.

Dan Cathy literally grew up in his late father’s restaurant and is known as the force behind expanding Chick-fil-A into a nationally recognized brand. His out-in-the-field, people-oriented leadership style focuses on understanding customer needs and creating an authentic example of service for his employees. Cathy shares the commitment to family, community and philanthropy held by Cecil B. Day and S. Truett Cathy.

The Day award, which carries a $10,000 donation given to a non-profit organization selected by its recipient, was presented to Cathy by Clint Day and Robert Brymer. They were joined by wife of the late Cecil B. Day, Deen Day-Sanders; sons, Parke and Peyton Day; and grandsons, Philip and Austin Day. Attendees also included the 2009 award recipient, Horst Schulze of Capella Hotel Group, and Dedman School of Hospitality faculty member, Nathan Line.

In addition to S. Truett Cathy and Horst Schulze, past recipients of the Cecil B. Day Ethics Award include: Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen; Robert B. Rowling, TRT Holdings, Inc.; Joel Manby, Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation; Eric Affeldt, ClubCorp; J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., Marriott International Inc.; Richard Rivera, Real Mex Restaurants Inc.; Michael Kaufman, National Restaurant Association; and Craig Miller, SONIC Drive-in.