Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. once said, “Being elected to the Hall of Fame is about your career… and your impact on the game.” 

But while Cal was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, our very own Anthony Anton was inducted into the Hospitality Hall of Fame in Pullman for his impact on the hospitality industry. 

Since 2017, the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management has been honoring people in the Northwest who have had an impact on the industry. Past inductees include Ivar Haglund, Jerry Burtenshaw, Ted Basler and Jan Hazelton.  

“Anthony has had a vital role in keeping the hospitality industry alive during the current pandemic,” said Alina Combs, a Hospitality Business Management major and event planning intern at the Carson College of Business, who inducted Anton into the Hall of Fame on March 11. She cited the role the Washington Hospitality Association played over the last two years in securing relief funding and regulatory measures to save small hospitality businesses. 

Anton is a 1991 graduate of WSU. The school’s description of him credits his ability to draw on his experience in his family’s restaurants to aid in his ability as president and CEO of the association. 

In his induction video played during the ceremony, many industry leaders stepped forward to talk about Anton’s dedication to hospitality. 

“There’s no one more passionate about the hospitality industry than Anthony Anton,” said Lane Hoss, vice president of marketing at Anthony’s Restaurants. “What he’s done is really galvanized so many aspects of hospitality, most recently having the hotels join the association, to look at the bigger picture.” 

Vijay Patel, president of A-1 Hospitality Group, shared similar remarks about Anton’s leadership. “He’s always looking at the long-term than the short-term. He loves the industry.”
said Patel. “The passion he has for hospitality and tourism in the state of Washington is amazing.”  

“Whether you’re a mom & pop, or the biggest restaurant or hotel in Washington state, it’s likely Anthony talks to you frequently,” said Bob Donegan, CEO of Ivars. “He calls and he asks people, ‘What’s going on?’ He wants to know in the restaurants and in the rooms what the experiences are.” 

Anton’s fellow inductees were Navin C. Dimond, CEO & Chairman of Stonebridge Companies, Gregory Thomas Rapp, founder of Menu Engineers and Clarice Turner, a board director and trustee in the hospitality and culinary sectors.