TEMPE, Ariz. – Howard Lutnick, an alumnus of Haverford College Class of 1983, received a prestigious honor from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association when he was presented with the 2017 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award on Saturday, September 9, 2017, at the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Board of Governors Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. The ceremony was hosted by the ITHF and presented by Rolex Watch, U.S.A.
Stan Smith, President of the ITHF, presented the award along with David A Benjamin, ITA Chairman Emeritus, Timothy Russell, ITA Chief Executive Officer, Gabriel de Mestral, Commercial Director, Rolex Watch U.S.A., who presented a distinctive, personally engraved, Rolex timepiece to Lutnick. In addition to this special gift, Lutnick and a guest were invited to watch a session of the 2017 US Open from the President’s Suite, courtesy of USTA, and were also recognized during the ITHF’s Legends Ball.
“The Intercollegiate Tennis Association is thrilled to recognize Howard Lutnick as the 2017 recipient of the 2017 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award,” said Russell. “Howard’s story of success and perseverance through personal and professional tragedy is truly inspiring. The ITA’s mission is to serve college tennis and return the leaders of tomorrow. Howard is a shining example of a student-athlete taking the tools and experience gained on the tennis courts and in the classroom and applying them throughout a distinguished professional career.”
Now in its 24th year, the ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award pays tribute each year to past participants in the world of varsity tennis who have achieved excellence in their chosen careers. The spirit of the award honors both professional success and contributions to society made either as a direct result of a career or through humanitarian efforts. In 2015, Margie and Stan Smith endowed the ITA Achievement Award in honor of Benjamin.
“On behalf of the ITA, we are proud to partner with the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Rolex Watch U.S.A. to recognize Howard Lutnick as the 2017 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award laureate,” said Benjamin. “And we would also like to thank once again Margie and Stan Smith, for their generous endowment donation for this most special award.”
Howard Lutnick, Chairman of the Board of Cantor Fitzgerald, had a strong winning record in both singles and doubles during his four years on the varsity tennis team at Haverford and served as captain during his junior and senior years. His college tennis coach, Marty B. Gilbert, has written “I remember with fondness my years with Howard. As a player, he was a pit-bull. He was tenacious and intelligent. He never beat himself and consistently found the weaknesses in his opponent’s game… As my captain, he embodied every attribute a coach would want for his captain… Players like Howard made coaching the dream job.”
Having lost both of his parents by the beginning of his freshman year, he was grateful to the school for the support that helped him to persevere. Despite these personal challenges, Howard not only managed a successful tennis career at Haverford, but was also Head of the Business Relations Committee, was a Teaching Assistant for both Micro- and Macro- Economics classes and was selected to be on the Economics Steering Committee.
In 1983, immediately upon graduation from Haverford with a degree in Economics, Howard joined Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the world’s leading financial services firms and a major force in the Wall Street bond market. In 1991, by age 30, Howard Lutnick was named President, and in 1996, he became Chairman of the Board.
On September 11, 2001, Cantor Fitzgerald became an epitome of the tragedy of that day, losing three-quarters of its employees — these 658-people accounting for almost a quarter of all who perished in New York City, including Howard’s younger brother, Gary.
The desire to help the families of those who were killed became the driving force and motivation behind the surviving executives’ decision for rebuilding Cantor Fitzgerald. Despite his deep grief, and the devastating loss of most of his workforce and financial assets, and against almost insurmountable odds, Lutnick rebuilt Cantor Fitzgerald.
Lutnick kept his pledge and donated 25% of the firm’s profits over the five years following 9/11 ($180 million) and 10 years of health insurance to his former employees’ families. And each year on September 11th, Cantor Fitzgerald and it’d affiliate BGC, commemorate their friends and colleagues lost in 2001, by turning the most difficult day of the year into one that is uplifting and life-changing. They invite celebrities, clients, former Presidents, friends and charities to join them on their trading floor, making phone calls with their brokers. All revenues earned on Charity Day are donated to support great causes around the world. To date, they have raised more than $300 million to help others, locally and globally.
Since 9/11, Howard Lutnick has been recognized as a symbol of resilience and his story has been widely covered by top financial publications. Lutnick was named the Financial Times Person of the Year in 2001; additional media highlights include stories published by The New York Times: “From Devastation to Determination at Cantor Fitzgerald,” on September 10, 2002, and “The Survivor Who Saw the Future for Cantor Fitzgerald,” on September 3, 2011. Most recently, Lutnick’s story was highlighted in the History Channel documentary, “15 Septembers Later.”
Lutnick served on the Haverford College Board of Managers for 21 years, including as vice-chair and chair, the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, the Intrepid Museum Foundation, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Lutnick received the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor granted by the Navy to non-military personnel. Lutnick also was the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award at Haverford.
Lutnick has said that tennis allowed him to lose himself in a match, and to sharpen his sense of focus. His competitive spirit flourished in the college tennis environment, and being part of a team whose collective success meant more than that of any individual player, helped shape him as a human being and as a businessman.
Howard is married to Allison Lutnick, a former public defender with the Brooklyn Aid Society and former partner with Wilson Elser. They have been married for 22 years and have four children, Kyle, 21, Brandon, 19, Casey, 16 and Ryan Gary, 11.