Ted Kleisner to be Honored at Savannah Technical College Foundation's 15th Annual Opportunity Gala

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Savannah hospitality visionary and third-generation hotelier Ted Kleisner will be honored at the 15th annual Opportunity Award Gala, December 7, 2018. The event, hosted by the Savannah Technical College Foundation, honors deserving civic leaders in our community for a lifetime of service in creating and enhancing opportunities for others to succeed.

This year, the STC Foundation honors Kleisner for his leadership and vision.  From the 1970s, as general manager of the Savannah Hilton when the renaissance of Savannah’s downtown was a distant possibility, Kleisner was among the leaders instrumental in establishing a Savannah Convention and Visitors Bureau, the predecessor of today’s Visit Savannah. He later chaired to effort to fund the building of Rousakis Plaza on River Street, the centerpiece of tourism downtown.

After leaving Savannah, he built a successful career including leading the Greenbrier Resort & Club Management Company, as well as Hershey Entertainment & Resort Company. During his illustrious career, in which he was named Independent Hotelier of the World (Hotels Magazine) among other awards, Kleisner mentored many budding culinary and hospitality professionals and created opportunities for many in the Savannah area and beyond.

Now he is an Emeritus Trustee of the Culinary Institute of America. Appointed by the Mayor and City Council of Savannah, he serves as a commissioner of The Savannah Hilton Head International Airport Commission and as member of the Downtown Savannah Development Authority board. He is also the Chairman of the board of trustees for The Telfair Museums of Savannah and serves on the board of directors of The Savannah Music Festival, Inc.

Gala proceeds in 2018 will benefit the renovation of 7 West Bay Street for the location of Savannah Culinary Institute, the College’s downtown teaching facility with a student-run restaurant and bakery.

The event gathers 300 community and civic leaders for a celebratory evening honoring a special individual. The evening also showcases the talents of students enrolled in Savannah Technical College’s award-winning Culinary Arts programs. Past recipients include: Former Governor Zell Miller, Arnold Tenenbaum, Judge Griffin Bell, Tom Coleman, Dick Eckburg, Arthur M. Gignilliat, Jr., Bob and Alice Jepson, Howard Morrison, Stratton Leopold and Chef Jean Vendeville.

The Opportunity Award Gala is a fundraiser for the Savannah Technical College Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization that raises funds to support Savannah Technical College. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact Gail Eubanks geubanks@savannahtech.edu or 912.443.3022.